Monday, December 21, 2009

Reviews and Character Flaws

Today I had the fun of discovering two reviews/mentions of When Mike Kissed Emma. Both were fairly positive.

The first, Miriam Foster at Red Room, suggested When Mike Kissed Emma as a last minute gift idea. (Which, personally, I think is a brilliant suggestion.)

The other was a review at Between the Lines, which included this smiling-inducing line: "the writing has clarity and sparkle and I can't wait to read other books by this author."

What I found interesting was that in both reviews mentioned Emma's character flaw of judging a little too much by appearances at first. It is definitely a flaw. It's the one that Emma overcomes during the course of the book.

I could have written Emma as a perfect teen - or close to it - but where would the story come from then? And actually a character who has no faults is rather annoying to read about too.

So when writing characters where is the balance between keeping them realistic and likeable, and yet interesting enough to warrant a story? If characters always makes the right decision the story is likely to be over rather quickly. If they make too many of the wrong choices the reader may give up on them.

How many flaws are you willing to put up with in a character as you read?

And how do you find the right balance as you right?


  1. I see you've done the math on this, Jim. Thank you. :)

  2. It's a tough line. I have one character who I love because she's prickly and mean and snarky...and while I intend for her to have a hard exterior to hide some character flaws, almost every reader I've ever had said she was just mean. I'm not sure if I've found the balance there.