The sun is out!
Birdy is crawling!
Why do fictional characters need flaws?
Author Roseanne Parry expounded on this at my SCBWI writing conference last month.
She said that children's book writers are generally nice, decent people
who write about nice, decent kids.
But stories are about ADVENTURES,
and nice, decent kids don't have ADVENTURES.
ADVENTURES happen to characters who are familiar with the
SEVEN DEADLY SINS.
To get a better idea of how this works in fiction, we looked at well-known literary characters and tried to pin down their outstanding sins: Harry Potter, Ian Falconer's Olivia, Hamlet, The Three Little Pigs, The Little Red Hen.
Think about a favorite book. Which sins most tempt its main characters?
How nice, decent kids say "KEEP OUT!":
Before hearing Roseanne Parry speak, I didn't allow my main characters to deal with real, flesh and blood sins. I wanted them to be good role models.
Now I get it.
We don't love Harry Potter because he obeys the rules
and keeps his temper and makes everybody happy.
We love him because he's flawed. Like us.
Tempted by anger and vanity, envy and sloth. Like us.
What sins do your main characters struggle with?
Books by Roseanne Parry:
Enjoy your adventures, my friends!