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My character is named Buteo, he is one of my story's protagonists. He is very neat and organized. He really does not like change. He keeps to a schedule. Buteo is a perfectionist when it comes to himself, but gives a lot of leeway when it comes to others. He gets upset and embarrassed if he feels that he has let someone down. He sacrifices everything for others. Buteo believes that the world is deeply flawed and that everyone should try to make it better. He believes that his self-sacrifice will inspire people to be better.

The only flaw I can think of is making him controlling, but I feel as if it would make him too unlikeable and I'm thinking of making that a flaw of Buteo's foil. What flaws could I give him instead?

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  • The only flaws any of us have boil down to Pride (a rigid and inaccurate self-view) or Ignorance (willful or not, a lack of consideration/awareness of some dynamic - usually external). Any weakness can be a strength and vice versa. It's about perspective (Pride) and balance (Awareness) – Starscream Jan 7 at 13:47
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I agree with Ian54 answer's but I would like to expand on it.

For me, a flaw is just a quality in a "too much" mode. In the description of your character you have gave a lot of personal traits that can become flaws if they become "too much".

For example:

He really does not like change.

Can become:

He isn't capable of adapting and will "freeze" if the situation isn't what he expects. He simply won't be able to deal with it in an "intelligent" manner.

For example, in case of a fire in his house, he might dress up and put his shoes on before going out even though there isn't time to do that. But his inability to adapt to change won't allow for him to go outside "unproperly" dressed.


Another possible flaw:

He gets upset and embarrassed if he feels that he has let someone down.

can become

He has low self-confidence and anxiety and will often spend all night thinking about minor things that he "did wrong" without realizing that the other simply doesn't care about that.

A situation could be "someone asked Buteo to bring the 'fancy blue shirt' for an important meeting, but Buteo took the red one by mistake and now Buteo is convinced the meeting went wrong because of that".


Another possible flaw based on your description:

Buteo believes that the world is deeply flawed and that everyone should try to make it better.

Can become

Buteo doesn't realize that some people have disabilities and that, for them, going to a protest for a right cause is just not an option.


Yet another possible flaw:

He believes that his self-sacrifice will inspire people to be better

Can become

He tends to self-sacrifice too much without thinking about his health (both mental and physical) this will lead him to burnout and will make him overall miserable in his life.


I think you get the idea. Just take one of your character traits, makes it stronger and "voilà", you have a flaw.

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Yes, your correct, every character needs a flaw.

You have given us a list of traits that your character has, asking to help you make a flaw for them.

Except, in your list, you give a trait that I would consider near flaws or a flaw:

  • Buteo really does not like change.

That is a flaw to me.

Take the mc Willow from the middle-grade novel Counting by 7s.

Her main flaw is she is not very good at dealing with change. It is what the plot arc is based on and what made the book so successful.

A flaw does not mean a bad thing. Meaning, your character does not need to be controlling or unkind to have a flaw. Flaws are normal day things. Model it after someone you know. Does one of your colleagues tend to argue with you over little things? Does your cousin obnoxiously remind you of your new year's resolution when you are breaking it? Does your friend consider themself better than you?

Take these subtle, everyday flaws that readers can identify with and add those to Buteo. You then can stretch and elaborate them to fit your story and characters, but the starting flaw should be the inspiration.

Again - you could also use the flaw that you put in your mc's trait list about not liking change.

It's up to you, but the bottom line is to:

Give your characters flaws. And, make the flaws subtle and relatable.

If you do this, you will generate more plot, character growth, and an overall more interesting story.

Good luck!

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