Barbie Dolls and Cripples


A lot of authors often struggle with making a decent protagonist. They are either perfect (a ‘Barbie Doll’) or very imperfect (a ‘Cripple’).

The Barbie Doll has no flaws, is usually overpowered, and everything tends to go their way. They get the date, beat the bad guy, and go sailing off into the sunset. On the other hand… the cripple has everything going against them. The antagonists are overpowered and give the cripple little to no chance at succeeding. While this may be a popular approach to hooking a reader’s sympathy, you need to have something that the main character can use to their advantage against the bad guy so the story can move along. Here are my suggestions on how to have a balanced character:

>> Make them have a companion. Everyone loves sidekicks, so why should you exclude one from your tale? They can bring your characters down to earth with advice, or provide comical relief in times of hardship. As the saying goes, opposites attract, so have a realistic side character to tag along in your book that will compliment your main character.

>> Give weaknesses and strengths. As a fun ‘game’ I often make a list of three flaws and assets for each of my characters.

>> Answer a questionnaire. Go to a personality test website and answer the questions as your character. This will help you with balancing out your protagonist.

If you have any tips, questions or comments please post them below for the benefit of others.


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