Time to Write Now By Julaina Kleist-Corwin

About Writing Plus

Protagonist's Positive and Negative Traits

thumbs upOur characters have positive and negative traits like people do. As writers we give characters flaws to prevent the protagonist from being too perfect. Some writers are afraid to do anything that might make the hero or heroine less likable. But the character who exhibits flaws is more believable, more human. Their flaws often  worsen the conflict and can keep their actions unpredictable at times. Make the flaw part of the cause that thwarts the character’s goal. The protagonist’s awareness of the effect of the flaw can spark a desire to overcome it and that change  becomes part of the character arc.

The positive traits are endearing to the readers and create the emotional impact when the character struggles.The readers relate to the situation, live it through the protagonist, and experience what it would be like if that happened to them.

What is your protagonist’s flaw?

Is his or her best trait one that you have or wish you had?

My protagonist, Jill Steele in Norman in the Painting, has a constant battle between fear and desire. Her need for security and safety is challenged with her desire to be with Norman. Her best trait is loyalty and it’s one of mine too.


  1. My protagonist, Brie, tends to use people. She has trouble forming emotional bonds and this leads into the story. I think flaws are some of the best things to kick off a story.

  2. I agree with you, Kate. Thanks for reading the post.

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