Building Character (Nothing Is Wasted, Part 2)

I jumped the gun on the conclusion to my story about the car problems on our way home through Yuma because I didn’t want the world at large to know we weren’t home yet.  We’re home now, and the story didn’t end quite like I expected it would.

When we went to pick up the car, Flash sadly informed us that in addition to the problem with the front wheel bearing (now fixed) there was indeed a problem with the transmission.  He could order a rebuilt one or a brand new one (for twice as much), but it would take at least a week between shipping and installation.  Now you might think that he was pulling a fast one on us, but remember, my hubby had felt the involuntary gear shift and Team Ramco has beaucoup awards on the shelves.  And since they’d missed it the first time around, he was going to discount the cost of fixing the tranny by the amount of the labor of fixing the wheel bearing (about $250).

So we said yes to the rebuilt transmission, rented a car, and drove home.

When we got home, our other car wouldn’t start.  It turned out to be just a small thing (that only took $70 dollars to fix!  Gah!) but it was the last straw and Brian and I got a little snippy with each other.

So how do your characters act when things go wrong?

We want our characters to be sympathetic.  We don’t want them to seem petty and small-minded, but giving them flaws makes them more human.  And human characters are sympathetic characters, especially when they later rise above their limitations.  So don’t make your characters too perfect.  If they screw up now and then, it only makes them more loveable in the end.

2 Comments

Filed under Life, writing

2 responses to “Building Character (Nothing Is Wasted, Part 2)

  1. Gads, you could write a book just about your road trip adventures!

    If they screw up now and then, it only makes them more loveable in the end.

    That’s a very important point for any writer. Without real flaws, your characters don’t have much of a growth arc, so the payoff for the reader is not as large. In the end, they’re not as invested in finding out “what happens.” I think this applies to people too — we all want to grow in character enough to rise above any pettiness we might have. That’s easier said than done during stressful economic times or when life is throwing you lots of curve balls.

    • I think this applies to people too — we all want to grow in character enough to rise above any pettiness we might have. That’s easier said than done during stressful economic times or when life is throwing you lots of curve balls.

      Yep. You pretty much nailed it.

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