I came across a blogpost by K.M. Weiland lately that solved a problem for me concerning one of my characters - or better, it described the problem. Before, I knew there was something wrong, but couldn't put my finger on it. Hence why I share it, you might find it useful too. It's about the Lie your main character(s) believe in. The Lie is something your character thinks he needs or is true at the start of a story. For example, in Toy Story, the Lie is that you are only valuable if you are the favourite toy. Of course, the Lie is a lie and it harms the character(s), The main character realises this as the story progresses. In the end, he will learn the Truth, and hopefully, have a much better life. it is strongly connected to your character's arc; at the end of the story, your character will be a different person (well, usually. Some characters never change). Please read that blogpost, it explains it much better than I can. I obviously tried to figure out the Lies of my own characters. Beware, this gets a bit spoilery, but if you know my work a bit, the Lies will not come as a surprise: Morgan: logic solves everything. Don't bother to trust your feelings. Orion: death solves everything - his death, of course. Such a happy fellow. Lienne: thinks she is not good/pretty enough to do things right. Or at least not as good as other people. Khorrek: No one ever takes him seriously, so he doesn't have to act serious either. Rain: Non-elves suck. Selanji: you need to be in control of every aspect of your life to make it a happy one, and therefore can't make concessions. The Lie affects who your characters are: Morgan has trouble understanding (more emotional) others, Orion 'collects suicides', Lienne is terribly insecure, Khorrek is a troublemaking child, Rain is racist, and Selanji is stubborn. I have never heard of the Lie before, but I knew there had to be some problem for each character and that they had to overcome it. The Lie helped me shape that better. So for most characters, I could determine their Lie with ease - except for Selanji.
Selanji is far from perfect, being the hot-headed, overly protective, arguing, and make-up addicted woman she is, but these flaws are merely the symptoms of her Lie. What was the Lie itself? Now I look at it again, it's pretty obvious, but I couldn't figure it out immediately. I think that is because every character has to go from Lie to Truth in the story (or try to) via one or a set of events. Rain's truth, for example, is going to be quite obvious: not all non-elves suck. I have already made a set of scenes for him in which he's going to realise that. Some of the other characters have a bit more complex Truths, since it is not the exact opposite of their Lie, but for the sake of spoilers, I'll keep those to myself (if you still want to know them, feel free to ask). Point is, I already knew what the events were that will push the characters from their Lie to their Truth - except, again, for Selanji. None of Selanji's chapters I have in mind force her to go give up her Lie, or at least not for the long term. This is what made it hard to me to pinpoint her problem in the first place. Luckily, Selanji's chapters aren't developed as well as those of the others, so it shouldn't be that hard to weave her transformation from Lie to Truth in there. Long story short: this helped me a lot, so I hope you'll find it useful too. What are your character's Lies and Truths? Do you know how they go from one to the other?