How To Create A Hero’s Flaw – Tips From Superman on Kryptonite

Every character must have a journey throughout a novel through which they change. At My Book Therapy we call it the Lie Journey. Yes, the plot must be amazing.

Still, in order to have compelling characters we need them to come through their journey with the same types of struggles we have in life. As the story progresses they grow and change. For a character to change they must have a flaw that gives them difficulty in achieving their goals.

Let’s take a few tips on Kryptonite from Superman:

Superman’s tragic flaw is his problem with kryptonite. He has to find a way to overcome his weakness. Notice it doesn’t mean it doesn’t still give him difficulty, but he finds ways to overcome it. For Superman, it might be as simple as avoiding the kryptonite. For our heroes and heroines they have to work at it a bit.

How to Create A Hero’s Flaw:

1. Show others recognizing the change the lead character needs to make.

2. Have them reject the need to change the first time it is introduced early in the novel. This is how the reader can identify what a hero needs to change.

3. Help your hero / heroine make baby steps toward change in the story. They sometimes attempt and fail.

4. Have your hero/heroine accept the truth and then choose to act on it.

5. As the character grows towards complete change give them challenges that make their change even harder to believe and do.

For more ideas on developing the character journey and finding that initial flaw, I highly recommend the character interview included in From the Inside Out by Susan May Warren.

It is important to variate the flaws of your hero/heroine. They can compliment on another best if they have flaws that are very different from each other’s.

What are your favorite examples of authors using kryptonite to show a character’s change or inner change?


About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

4 thoughts on “How To Create A Hero’s Flaw – Tips From Superman on Kryptonite

  1. Thanks Michelle! I’m working on my hero’s lie right now, and this is great advice.

  2. One ‘heroine’s’ flaw (if she can be called a heroine) is Sara’s (Angel’s) inability to let anyone close to her and believe that Micheal can love her and forgive her for her past in Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. If anyone has changes to make it’s Sara/Angel. She goes so far as to run away from him three times!

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