Character flaws in fiction are desirable. If you characters don’t have flaws, they don’t have dimension. Building in flaws makes it easier to build story. I’m talking about your villain here as well as your hero.
Character flaws – hero
This is the common one people discuss. A perfect hero is boring and makes for a boring story. That’s why Superman has his Kryptonite. The flaw in your hero needs to be something that limits their ability to meet the challenge of the story. A romantic heroine who can’t bring herself to trust men, has a great flaw. Now she has to battle her own demons as well as whatever the story throws at her. Character flaws give you more to work with in the story.
Character flaws – villain
It may seem contradictory that your villain needs a character flaw. After all isn’t the fact that they are the villain flaw enough? Here’s the thing, your villain doesn’t know they are the bad guy. In fact, the villain may not necessarily be a bad guy.
Let’s first talk about the stereotypical villain. They are the bad guy and they know they are getting in the way of the hero. Remember that mostly they are trying to be the hero of their own story. So, what kind of character flaws will they need to battle? What about the criminal who is a compulsive gambler?
Now, let’s talk about the character flaws applicable to the benign villain. This is the mother-in-law who constantly meddles in the marriage of her son. She’s the villain because she’s trying to convince them to have children when the hero – her daughter-in-law – just wants to have a few years to build the strength of her marriage before adding children. Her character flaw could be gossiping, or compulsive shopping.
As you work with your characters, think about a flaw or two to add dimension.