How To Write Character Flaws

It can be hard to find that balance between a character that is too perfect for readers to love and a character that is too flawed for readers to relate to.

Something I like to remember when thinking of flaws to give characters is that very often, flaws can be positive attributes that are in excess.

(This is related to Aristotle’s Virtues and Doctrine of the Mean.)


Courage is a positive trait.

But taken too far? That can lead to rashness, or recklessness, which are negative traits. And without enough courage? The character is meak, fearful and cowardly, which are also negative traits.

Here are some examples to think of for your characters of positive traits taken to the extremes.

Virtue– kindness

Excess-easily taken advantage of

Deficiency– selfishness

Virtue– ambition

Excess– greed/avarice

Deficiency– lazy

Virtue– honesty

Excess– harshness

Deficiency– secrecy/dishonesty

Virue– decisiveness



Virtue– passionate

Excess– irritating

Deficiency– apathetic

Virtue– strong leadership

Excess– over-controlling

Deficiency– indifferent/passive

Hope this helps 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.