[Writing Prompt] Hidden Depths

Now that we’ve played around with perspective for a few days, let’s turn our attention to character.

Of course you want your hero to be heroic and your bad guys to be evil, but don’t forget that one dimensional characters are unrealistic and unsympathetic.

So what’s the solution? 

The Prompt

Give Your Character a Flaw

The key to giving your character an interesting flaw is to let the readers see the potential for failure early on. 

If your heroine is a devoted mother and that is going to be the thrust of the story, let the readers see her having a moment of resentment, of longing for her former freedom. Raise the stakes by giving her chances to regret that feeling later, when her children are in peril. It’s not who she really is, but it was a very human impulse. Your readers will empathize both with the impulse and the regret. 

If your hero is a wise-cracker, hint that there is a serious reason underneath. 

The same goes for the evil witch in the office, who makes your main character’s life a misery. If she is all bad, the reader will get bored with her. If she has a hint of a redeeming feature (even if it is that she is hilarious), the readers will have more patience for her necessary appearances in the story.

Just don’t go overboard with this. It’s a short story. A quick hint early on is all you should need to put on the page. 


And when you have written your story, log in and post your success in The Victory Dance group or simply comment on this post and let the congrats come flying in.

4 thoughts on “[Writing Prompt] Hidden Depths”

    1. Thanks, Julie. Don’t worry, I’ll get around to using your prompts too. I actually already used the one about time. I really liked that one.

  1. Ok, I’m back and finished my story, a flash, about 520 words. I didn’t use this prompt though, I got one from another website. Here’s the prompt from the Mike Sellars blog on twitter. “It looked like a duck,walked like a duck and sounded like a duck, but Jay was pretty sure it was his old geography teacher, Mr. Cohen.”

    It was just a fun piece but the ending needs a lot of work and I might expand the whole thing. Didn’t have time here.

  2. Just a note to say I’m still writing and up to date. I’ve also been finishing the stories. Haven’t done today’s yet, but will try to check back after I do. I have 42 stories from May and Sept so far including todays. So I’ll have lots to work on later.

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