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CloverReef

Unattractive, but Redeemable Flaws

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This forum looked so lonely. So… Let’s talk about creating flawed characters! Like I don’t mean “omg he’s so tortured it’s sexy” kinda flaw, I mean non-sexy flaws. Things that add a little bit of ugly to an otherwise attractive character. I personally think every character needs a little ugliness added, especially in smut fics (Not counting PWPs in this statement. Everything goes out the window for PWPs) where most of the main characters tend to be on the sizzling side. 

I think lots of people have a line they draw in the sand between redeemable and not-redeemable. Like if your character is super sexy, but he keeps raping neighbourhood grandmothers, I probably won’t root for him no matter how many animal shelters he donates to or how many sonnets he writes. But there’s ugliness to me that is redeemable that isn’t so redeemable to other readers. Someone who kills, for example. (In fiction only!) Someone with explosive diarrhea (though I wouldn’t necessarily want to see him in an anal sex scene). Um… What else? Scars and stuff are too attractive, but horrific burns over half their body aren’t so much. A penchant for completely inappropriate jokes? Racism? 

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Obviously, in my opinion, all characters need their flaws.  Without them, a character becomes two dimensional (the tomatoes can be thrown, I can use some ketchup ;)...).  Without flaws, a character is just "perfect", so to speak.  Or, if irredeemable, becomes simply too evil.  Reality isn't as black and white.  

I'm probably rambling and not really answering things... 

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1 minute ago, Tcr said:

Obviously, in my opinion, all characters need their flaws.  Without them, a character becomes two dimensional (the tomatoes can be thrown, I can use some ketchup ;)...).  Without flaws, a character is just "perfect", so to speak.  Or, if irredeemable, becomes simply too evil.  Reality isn't as black and white.  

I'm probably rambling and not really answering things... 

Yeah, I had recently a good 5k toward ironing out some of my character’s flaws, but it was kinda overboard, so I killed it.  So, I left them at that point where they can jump further by tripping over their shoelaces.  Made a subsequent section more challenging, but I think I managed.

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10 hours ago, Desiderius Price said:

An allergy to oysters, but eats them anyways because they’re so delicious, that comes to mind.

What, you don’t find puffiness, rashes, and inability to breathe to be sexy? I hope he carries an epipen. 

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1 minute ago, CloverReef said:

What, you don’t find puffiness, rashes, and inability to breathe to be sexy? I hope he carries an epipen. 

Nothing that dramatic… just more than enough unpleasantness to ruin a date though :P   [and it was way better than my first idea of food poisoning because it was more targeted, and added to his character.]

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1 minute ago, Desiderius Price said:

Nothing that dramatic… just more than enough unpleasantness to ruin a date though :P   [and it was way better than my first idea of food poisoning because it was more targeted, and added to his character.]

LOL that’s too bad. I was thinking that was quite a dedication to oysters! Still definitely a redeemable, unattractive flaw though, and quite original at that!

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5 minutes ago, CloverReef said:

LOL that’s too bad. I was thinking that was quite a dedication to oysters! Still definitely a redeemable, unattractive flaw though, and quite original at that!

It’s the example I point to as where my database helps, so I can track these things, because I had ages ago, listed a more generic shellfish allergy.   This was after cursing Google for pushing diarrhea cures when I wanted to trigger it… go figure.

When I do want to bring some significance to a character, I’ll roll the dice, effectively, and run a utility I have that picks random lines out of a file.  I’ve got files for personality traits, hobbies, allergies, occupations, and phobias.  So, I’ll pick, say 10, and see what makes sense, and create a character for that.  I use the random thing, since although it’s easy to say “I want the character to have flaws”, trying to pick those traits while also not overusing a few favourites, that’s tougher.

 

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8 hours ago, Tcr said:

Obviously, in my opinion, all characters need their flaws.  Without them, a character becomes two dimensional (the tomatoes can be thrown, I can use some ketchup ;)...).  Without flaws, a character is just "perfect", so to speak.  Or, if irredeemable, becomes simply too evil.  Reality isn't as black and white.  

I'm probably rambling and not really answering things... 

Its interesting to apply this to societies too, when appropriate.  (ie, in mine, conservative/religious, *but* when it comes to cheerleaders, best not to let that stubble show through the body paint.)

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Character picks nose and eats off his finger. Can’t use the “It’s good for immune system” excuse. Otherwise decent person, just a disgusting habit they’re semi-oblivious too. Other character wants to break them of it. It works then… they start chewing their toenails.

Because flaws are interesting.

 

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2 hours ago, JayDee said:

Character picks nose and eats off his finger. Can’t use the “It’s good for immune system” excuse. Otherwise decent person, just a disgusting habit they’re semi-oblivious too. Other character wants to break them of it. It works then… they start chewing their toenails.

Because flaws are interesting.

Just sounds like a character who appreciates thoroughly cleaned nostrils to me….

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2 hours ago, Desiderius Price said:

Just sounds like a character who appreciates thoroughly cleaned nostrils to me….

LOL… See, I usually think of unattractive flaws as things that wouldn’t attract other characters to them, but I really like the idea of a character with a really gross habit and another character getting uncontrollably attracted to that gross habit/trait.

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5 hours ago, JayDee said:

Character picks nose and eats off his finger. Can’t use the “It’s good for immune system” excuse. Otherwise decent person, just a disgusting habit they’re semi-oblivious too. Other character wants to break them of it. It works then… they start chewing their toenails.

Because flaws are interesting.

5 minutes ago, CloverReef said:

LOL… See, I usually think of unattractive flaws as things that wouldn’t attract other characters to them, but I really like the idea of a character with a really gross habit and another character getting uncontrollably attracted to that gross habit/trait.

Well, in the above example, the *why* to their nose picking could be a different trait...like an obsessive compulsive disorder (to keeping their nostrils clear).  Perhaps the character had a near drowning experience and though they nearly died due to a stuffed nose? 

Just feeding the plot bunnies… :)

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