Flawed Characters, by Sarah Morgan

by Sarah Morgan, author of Bella and the Merciless Sheikh (Book 7 of the Balfour Brides miniseries, February 2011)

Any book or article on the craft of developing believable characters in fiction will advise the writer to give them flaws.  Doing so makes them ‘human’ because real people aren’t perfect and if you want the reader to become fully involved in the story then the characters need to act like real people.

When I was first invited to contribute to the Balfour Bride series, I was thrilled. As I waited nervously for the brief to arrive, I hoped that my Balfour sister would be someone ‘real’ – someone whose journey would be absorbing and emotional.  Right from the first moment I read Bella’s story I was excited, and that excitement stayed with me all the way through the writing of the manuscript.  Bella was definitely flawed. She was also complex and sometimes spoiled, but I sensed immediately how vulnerable she was underneath all that attitude and how much of her ‘image’ had been developed as a defence mechanism.

Advice on writing craft is also likely to tell you that a character should change, or at least learn something during the course of the story and that was certainly the case with Bella.  Spoiled Bella became humble Bella and then bold, brave Bella.  I loved her (Go Bella!), and I hope you love her too.  Her story, Bella and the Merciless Sheikh, is out now in the US (It’s called Bella’s Disgrace in the UK and if you’re looking for it on the Mills and Boon website you’ll find it in ‘Special Releases’).

So how do you prefer your heroines?  Sweet and good or seriously flawed?


Blog Widget

Related Posts
Comments ( 11 )
  1. Ros
    January 20, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Seriously flawed, of course! Heroines and heroes too. It just makes them so much more interesting.

  2. Sarah Morgan
    January 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I agree Ros – flawed is more interesting. It’s hard to take a character on a journey when they start off perfect.

  3. Marilyn Shoemaker
    January 21, 2011 at 12:29 am

    I adored Bella, how she grew, learned from her mistakes and her bravery and love for her sheikh. A wonderful story Sarah!

  4. Sarah Morgan
    January 21, 2011 at 3:00 am

    Thanks Marilyn, I’m so pleased you enjoyed Bella.

  5. Abby Green
    January 21, 2011 at 5:32 am

    Sarah – I just love your heroines. They’re ALL fantastic and compelling. I think I like sweetness with some flaws thrown in. No matter what the heroine does, as long as the reader can believe her behaviour is justified then you can’t go wrong..because who is perfect?!
    x Abby

  6. Sarah Morgan
    January 21, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Abby, you’re right of course that it’s all about justifying the behaviour. Motivation, Motivation, Motivation….. xxx

  7. Kate Hewitt
    January 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    I loved this story, Sarah, and I loved Bella. She was very real and human and flawed, and yet so lovable. I love flawed heroines, whether writing or reading them. They’re more likable to me, because they’re real and struggling and you are so glad when they get their HEA!

  8. Sarah Morgan
    January 22, 2011 at 6:23 am

    Kate, I agree that when a character struggles it is all the more satisfying to see them get their HEA. So glad you enjoyed Bella

  9. Caitlin Crews
    January 27, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Oh, I love a flawed heroine–and I love a Sarah Morgan heroine, too! This is the best of both worlds!

  10. Emma
    February 8, 2011 at 3:41 am

    I just finished reading this last night. It was totally worth the sleep deprivation and cranky mood at work.

    What I loved best was Bella’s attempt at humor in awkward circumstances to break a silence and then Zafiq’s initial deadpan expressions as if it didn’t amuse him, but SECRETLY it did. It was endearing. AND I also loved the dynamic growth in Bella. A lot of stories fall short in one, maybe even two dimensional, characters, but Bella was very lifelike and developed. I realize sometimes it’s difficult to fully flesh out a character while progressing the story in a limited amount of words, but Bella and the Merciless Sheikh was a great balance.

    Though to me, I wanted just a bit more description as to what/how both characters were feeling in regards to their struggling relationship. I felt like it was ignored a bit, but that’s just me. Of course, it could be a portrayal of the situation, that they were both TRYING to ignore their relationship 😛 I always wish for a lengthier novel! There should be extended versions.

    Anyway, what I was trying to say was, loved it.

  11. the paris hilton of desert romances « The Ultimate Sheikh Fan Blog
    June 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    […] and the Merciless Sheikh… I decided to read it after finding a conversation about it on the I {Heart} Harlequin Presents website.  The discussion, posted by Sarah Morgan (the author of Bella), asks readers whether they prefer a […]