Flaws Not Always Bad

In a romance novel (or any novel), the main character has flaws that need fixing. The character grows and changes and by the end of the book has overcome them.

That’s fiction.

In real life it isn’t so easy.

The presence of flaws is essential to the believability of the character. They make the hero or heroine human.

So why must we change them?

I have flaws and am proud to say I’ve overcome a few. I worked for a newspaper in college and had to make “cold calls” to strangers who had information I needed for a story. Being shy, I’d procrastinate, putting them off until deadline was upon me. But I made the calls.

I grew up with doormat syndrome. Eager to please, I sometimes let people walk all over me. My epiphany occurred when I competed for a job I should have won and lost. After wallowing in self pity, I changed. I became more forceful. I stood up for myself. In time, I became the boss.

Overcoming old flaws sometimes leads to new ones. Remember the old saying, “Pride goeth before a fall?” Too bad. I like to be praised. I like to succeed. My pride runneth over, even when I’ve fallen.

The good thing about pride and its sidekick fear of failure is you try and try again to “get it right.” It doesn’t always work and instead of falling back and regrouping, the prideful person keeps on pushing the rock up a hill until it moves.

Pride might be a flaw I want to keep.

The five thousand mile boat trip has revived some of my old flaws. I find I’m fearful of situations I can’t control. I swallow objections and follow the lead of others. I keep pushing the rock, even when someone has told me it’s not moving. It has also given me a gift. It’s called patience.

Is there a lesson here? Characters in novels have flaws, but maybe not all of them should be overcome. Understanding them, being aware of them, fighting them…that might be better.

It would certainly be more realistic.

Who wants to be perfect.

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