After the writing workshop/conference I attended a few weeks ago I printed out the entirety of my manuscript. I’m not anywhere near being finished, but I hadn’t actually looked it over on physical paper yet.
It had gotten away from me slightly. It was in disarray. Going through the 140-odd pages on my computer just wasn’t working for me. So I printed it, three-hole punched it, and put it in a binder. Then I sat down to read through every page.
I’m so glad I did this! I saw things that I hadn’t seen before. Simple things like grammatical errors or plot confusion (calling a minor character by two different names–haha. Oops! Sorry Eric/Tony.) and then I noticed something. Too many of my characters were likeable.
That was something that was discussed at the workshop. Characters don’t always need to be likeable. They can do bad things, selfish things, or just plain irritating things. My main character has her personality flaws. She’s a bit head-strong, and self-involved. As for my supporting cast, though… they were all basically perfect. Loving, supportive, always-there-for-the-main-character, always understanding.
My book has plenty of conflict, but I feel like that many essentially perfect characters in one place would be too much. So I’ve gone back and am working on showing their flaws. With everything they have to go through in this book, they should be flawed. Now they will be. And my book will be much better for it! Yay.