The 7 Deadly Character Sins, Part 2

Last-last week we discussed three character flaws that need to make more appearances in fiction. Today, to complete the discussion, we’ll be talking about four more!

As I mentioned in the linked-above post, no character struggles with only one major flaw. And as I can’t stress enough, some flaws make appearances to only some people, depending on both the character and the people in his/her life. So do keep that in mind when you’re working with character development.

#4: Unreliability/untrustworthiness

Often the main character in a large cast is shown as a dependable person. They’re totally willing to shoulder the burdens of anyone around them. Other characters trust them– usually they’re the ones with trust issues.

Let’s change that around and say your MC trusts the people around her and wants them to trust her too… but they don’t. Not because of her race, background, their own pasts, or other common foundations for trust issues– but because she’s displayed signs of being unworthy of trust. Dishonesty, for example. Betrayal. Maybe she’s too prone to accidents and has to prove that she can handle whatever they’ve got for her.

Being considered unreliable in a group of people whom you consider reliable is a hard thing to persevere through. It also gives room for backstory– what did she do wrong, or what is she doing wrong, that other people think she’s not worthy of trust? This is such an unexplored issue, and it’s real, too. Plus there’s a number of positive traits needed to push through this kind of situation, so it makes for a pretty arc!

#5: Blind loyalty

This could apply to so many situations. I’m actually quite surprised it doesn’t show up very often in the dystopian books I’ve read (then again, I don’t read that much dystopian, despite what I say about my appreciation for the genre!). Generally speaking, the [quite few] dystopian heroes I’ve read begin with a neutral worldview concerning their situation. By the end, at the part where they endeavor to break free of it, there’s no love lost. It would be pretty interesting to see more instances of blind loyalty to a corrupted regime, especially if they’ve never even had exposure to a different kind of life.

On the flip side, blind loyalty applies to good guys, too. Sometimes good guys get confused 🤷 and then their followers, who want to do the right thing, end up going the wrong direction! (Confused good guys is one of my favorite tropes!) To be honest, blind loyalty on good guys is more of a naïvety problem than anything else, I think.

#6: Greed and Discontentment

Yet another one of the actual 7 Deadly Sins! Some people just always want more. It could be anything– money, fans, land, fame, books…? I mean, how hard is it really to just be content with what you have? We always want more. Sometimes that leads to some unsavory situations. (And not only villains are greedy! Remember, one point of these characters arcs are to show that villainous inclinations can be overcome! Good does overpower evil)

#7: Foolishness

Also known as the opposite of wisdom. There are so many ways to interpret this idea, but in short, humans are fools 😂 And that means book characters are too.

This is not the same as stupidity– which is such a controversial subject I’m not even gonna go there (and it doesn’t really count as a flaw). Likewise, wisdom and intelligence aren’t the same thing either, so there you go.

Wisdom is something that comes from God and, essentially, getting on with life (though even those two are different types of wisdom).

That brings us to an interesting dilemma… Fools can’t write about wisdom, can we?

Is this entire post a sham?

That’s up to you to decide.

Always be a happy camper,

~ Merie

6 thoughts on “The 7 Deadly Character Sins, Part 2

  1. Jorja Ayres February 29, 2020 / 8:59 am

    This is awesome! I’m inspired to go out and give my characters some more flaws, lol.

    That is… If the post isn’t a sham… XD

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merie Shen February 29, 2020 / 9:00 am

      Thank you! That’s awesome. 😂 Although I find that characters seem to develop more flaws as you continue writing, so it’s good 👍

      … Yes, that seems to be the main problem here. 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

  2. beckythemothling February 29, 2020 / 9:34 am

    I love untrustworthy characters so much!! They can be so fun to watch!

    I’ve always wanted a Dystopian where the main character is blindly loyal to the evil regime, too. Why HAVEN’T we had that yet?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merie Shen February 29, 2020 / 10:14 am

      Yep, and it can be emotional to read about!

      That’s a good question. I guess the point of this post is to encourage new trends in character flaws? xD

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Carlye March 1, 2020 / 2:18 am

    Once again an amazing post from Merie. I loved it! You really inspired me to add more flaws to my characters and see how they grow.

    Liked by 1 person

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