Character Profiles,  Film,  Writing

Character Profiles: The Character Who is Beautiful by Imperfection

This is a rather broad profile, and it can refer not only to the character who is loved/admired because of his/her imperfectness, but also to the character who is doing the loving/admiring of the imperfections.

I have a big thing against “perfect” characters. You tend to see this a lot in romance novels, where the main character falls for someone who is pretty much perfect in every possible way. And another thing you often see is the main characters who are beautiful, but they don’t know it. Both of these drive me insane! I don’t even mind when main character loves character B and thinks character B is perfect (because that is often how falling in love can be)…but what I can’t stand is when everyone else in the universe seems to think that character B is perfect, too.

I think this annoyance comes from the fact that, in my experience, these perfect characters don’t exist. Aside from celebrity crushes, I can’t think of a single person I’ve ever known that had everyone (or
even close to it) after them. People are built differently, and we see the world differently. I love that about people, and I think this individual way of seeing things is a fact that shines in love very easily.

Okay, so what do I mean by imperfections? This can be pretty much anything. It can be something physical…not necessarily that the character is “ugly” or anything, but that they have particularly big
feet, or crooked teeth, or a lazy eye, etc. etc (though it could be that they are considered “ugly”, too). My thoughts on the physical aspect of this can be summed up quite well in this clip from the movie
Cashback. This wasn’t a particularly amazing movie for me or anything, but I love how this character falls in love.

Imperfections can also be mental or emotional, too. For me, it’s not about loving someone despite their imperfections, it’s loving someone because of them. I think that is what love is. No one is
perfect, and how boring would the world be if they were? Our good traits and nice features make us unique, but so do our flaws. One scene which always stands out to me in this context is the way Mark
Darcy tells Bridget his feelings in Bridget Jones’s Diary (I have to admit though that this is from the movie…I don’t think it’s said in the same way in the book? I honestly can’t remember). He begins to
tell her how much he likes her, and she protests, thinking he likes her despite her bad habits. But then he interrupts her, and tells her he likes her exactly the way she is. And it makes me sigh, every

Here is another example, from the show Misfits. Kelly has been put under a mind-control, and has been converted from an aggressive and outgoing teenage girl into a modest and sensible youth (which, of course, is horrid!) Nathan’s genuine sadness at her change is great, even though when he’s pointing out her changes, he knows the changes are for the “better”.

Sorry for the bad quality video...hard to find precise clips!

I could talk about this topic forever, I think, because I love it. And as a writer, it has definitely influenced how I write my characters. I don’t have an aim to make them have “perfect imperfections”, but I do try very hard to make sure that none of my characters are flawless.
Everyone is different, and everyone has their troubles…I want, as a writer and as a reader, to experience this is in all characters, and I want to see how different imperfections and perspectives on life can link together in the most beautiful of ways.

So how about you? Have any favourite moments of imperfect connections?


  • AFord

    Hi! Ventured over from the QueryTracker forums, where I was reading interestingly enough a forum thread about authors seeking creative ways to express the facial expressions of their main characters (MC's). You have done a great job within this post of defining the very essence of true love.

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