Thursday, April 16, 2015

Having Fun with Flaws (Day 2)

My decision not to take this all too seriously has been a good one. I am writing the most ridiculous stuff and getting a kick out of it. I am letting my imagination run wild. I know that there's a lot of unconscious detritus in my head. How do I know? From my dreams. Things happen in my dreams that I could never think up. Mix up late-night television with an upcoming Bruce Jenner interview and what to you get? An actor who played a priest in MURDER SHE WROTE appearing in my dream as a bisexual transvestite who wants to have an affair with me. Vivid. There must be a lot in the old noggin about which I am unaware, and I will only know what it is by letting myself riff.

I've been reading THE ANATOMY OF STORY by John Truby -- had lunch with my old friend and Johns wife Leslie Lehr yesterday at Back on the Beach - and she recommended chapter 3 for novelists.

Truby talks about weaknesses.

I challenge you to point out some heroic flaws  or weaknesses in literature:

EMMA - Emma is a snob and a control freak.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE Lizzie Bennett is sure shes right and just a little more witty than everyone else.
JANE EYRE - Whats Jane Eyres flaw? She seems spotless and too good to be true.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS - Pips flaw is that he is ashamed of his past and wants to hide it again, snobbery rears its head.
LOLITA - Humbert Humbert is a pedophile seems flawed enough, but theres more.
THE GREAT GATSBY - Gatsby has a flaw, but what about Nick Carroway?
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD - Does Atticus Finch have a flaw?
A ROOM WITH A VIEW -  Lucy is afraid to be natural and admit what and who she truly wants.

LADY CHATTERLYS LOVER - What about all the flaws that come from a person being outside their time or place. Lady Chatterly

Is it a weakness to want passion in  Anna Karenina?

Here are two film examples from Truby:

In Sunset Boulevard Joe Gilliss weakness is that he has a fondness for money and the finer things in life. He is willing to sacrifice artistic and moral integrity for comfort.

In Tootsie Michael is and arrogant and selfish.

Both of these characters  are likable to me anyway and perhaps it is because I want to follow a journey toward redemption. Each man does want to be better than he is even if he doesnt know it at first. Spoiler alert: Gillis ends up dead. (Well, its not really a spoiler alert you find out right at the beginning). Gillis is redeemed when he chooses to break away from comfort in favor of integrity. (Tragedy)

Michael, in Tootsie, is a womanizer, but he learns to literally stand in a womans shoes and his attitude toward women changes. He learns to have a fulfilling relationship.

In these two cases, you could say that the story is embedded in the flaw. If a character has to move from one stance to another, it may make the starting point for the writer more of a trampoline than a plank.

Give me flaws.


  1. I am working on a project that I have wanted to finish for years. But I constantly find myself thinking that maybe I should be working on another one instead. It’s a cool story and might be a better fit for this experience. So, what happens if you want to switch, or is this just another form of avoidance?

    1. I think switching -- something I am also prone to - can be another form of avoidance. Pick something to work on and join us for support.

  2. Perception

    Humbert Humbert failed to perceive his desire for the youth and vitality of America over the decay of Europe

    Billy Budd could not perceive evil

    Hal 9000 could not perceive as a human because it had no soul

    Sauron could not perceive little hairy footed people would be his downfall

    Mersault (the Stranger) could not perceive anything outside of his own mind

    The Wicked Witch could not perceive the power of good

    Quint could not perceive that you should not mess with a 30 Foot Great White Shark unless you bring a bigger boat.

  3. I have downloaded the book. Thanks. .

    1. downloaded what book?
      Are you joining us? JOIN US JOIN US JOIN US!!!!! We can have a party afterwards.