There’s that badass character, you know the one, the one you see in every story and in every genre, he (most of the time it is a he, which is something that we can all work toward changing *wink wink*) simply comes in different packaging, or in my own case, robes. It was a humbling yet infuriating moment when I realised that one of my own characters suffered from badass-syndrome. It started out innocently, I mean, my character had to be well spoken anything else just would not have fit properly. Powerful, yes my character also had to possess a fair amount of power because let’s face it, no self-respecting Guild Master of a Mage’s Guild is going to be a pushover. Alas, the worst of it has yet to come, dear reader. The moment of clarity, the one that hit me like a spectral battering ram lashing out from the page, was when I realised that I had given him a side-kick rather than a companion or confidante. The humility! *groans*
Suffice it to say that I was more than a little upset with myself that the character I had envisioned to be dynamic, deep, engaging and interesting (but then again don’t we always? Ah, the bliss of dreams…) turned out to be a flat and somewhat rigid character that came off as a bit whiny. So I sat down with the character in question and I said, “Look, this isn’t going to work, it’s not you, well it is you but technically it’s me.”
For a moment I was actually puzzled at where my character had gotten wrong. I mean, I had a brilliant name, an engaging role it filled within the story, and an exterior appearance that wasn’t Mr. Sixpack or Miss Massive Boobs. It was around here I realised that I had made my Mage character too untouchable, not in terms of relative power but in terms of psyche and strength of character. My character was not want of flaws, but they weren’t prevalent enough. I have attempted to solve the issue by giving my Mage a lack of patience, a fear of heights, and a relatively jaded outlook on life in order to counter his previous being untouchable and “larger-than-life-ness.”
Then again, this is always a kind of balancing act. While we’re all familiar with the characters that are too perfect, I think I personally might be in the danger zone of making my characters too flawed in the near future. It’s one of those things, I see an issue and instead of pouring a bucket of water on the campfire I grab the hose and drench the entire campsite. We’ll see how it goes!