Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Flawed Fred

45 Comments

Image courtesy of  https://en.wikipedia.org

Image courtesy of
https://en.wikipedia.org

When I was in the third grade, I was obsessed with the Flintstones. Every morning before school, my mom woke me up an hour early to watch back to back episodes. I had her place my tape recorder next to the TV to voice record the episodes that came on during the school day. No picture, only sound, but that was okay because I was a Flintstones fanatic.

During every episode, I cheered for Fred, as I watched him get into impossible predicaments. I always felt a little sorry for him. His life was an uphill battle, but he persevered and usually managed to come out on top.

When I create a character, I often think about Fred and the obstacles he had to overcome. In order for my readers to sympathize with my protagonist, they must root for him to succeed. Fred wasn’t perfect. He often did things that were wrong, but that was okay because his motives were admirable. He was a hard worker who provided for his family.

A character that is handsome, kind to children, donates all of his money to charity, never drives over the speed limit or never gets upset is perfect. He has nowhere to go and no way to grow. I don’t feel sympathetic concern because he can handle anything. I’d rather save my sympathy for someone who deserves it.

While reading, it’s difficult for me to connect to a perfect character, since I’m far from perfect. A perfect character is boring to read. As a writer, I don’t want readers to get bored and I don’t want them to pity my characters or think of them as wimps. Characters that only suffer and whine are not sympathetic, they’re pathetic.

My goal is to make the reader become one with my characters. I must show their flaws to make them human. When they do something bad, the reader understands why they’re acting this way. While most episodes of the Flintstones portrayed Fred as a character full of flaws, to me he appeared human. Each episode he faced difficulties and struggles, but he always left work with a happy, “Yabba-Dabba Do!”

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, published by Harlequin Love Inspired released on February 21, 2017 and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

45 thoughts on “Flawed Fred

  1. When I was a young adult, I became a huge fan of a popular romance author. I devoured her books as I rode the subway to work. But after reading several of these novels, I started to get bored with the main characters. In many ways, they were all the same: always strikingly beautiful, kindhearted, and generous, yet too perfect to realize how perfect they were. I loved the historical settings in which the stories took place because I always learned something new, but I stopped reading this author once I realized how dull her main characters were. Of course I want characters to have redeeming qualities, but as you said, they need to feel human, too. I love rounding out my week with your posts, Jill. Always good stuff to think about.

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    • What a nice thing to say, Gwen. I also look forward to reading your kind comments each week, they always give me even more to think about. I have a feeling I know which author you’re referring to. I also devoured every book she wrote and she was a writing machine! I got burned out on all of the perfection. Have a great weekend !

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  2. Totally agree, Jill! Perfect characters are cardboard. They never become real to you and you just don’t bond with them. I’ll take a flawed, fresh dose of reality any day 🙂

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    • Well said, Amy! I’ve read many books that have a gripping plot, but I could care less if the main character drove off a cliff and the story ended by Chapter 2. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  3. Great post, Jill. I too used to enjoy watching the Flintstones and Flintstones in space (aka The Jetsons). It’s very interesting to look back at the things we loved when we were younger and to dissect the reasons why. “Overcoming obstacles” always seems to be one of those ingredients that’s always there.

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  4. Fred, like Homer Simpson, is the perfect protagonist: we feel for him, he does his best but sometimes his best falls far short. That’s life – no-one’s perfect and that’s why we identify with characters like him. Barney Rubble was sweet, too, in a brainless kind of way, but always a good foil for dear Fred.

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  5. I love Fred & Wilma! The wonderful thing about aging (one of the few) is that you are wiser. When you are young you think that only you and your family have flaws. You feel that everyone else’s families are perfect and better than yours. Then as you grow, you realize what goes on behind closed doors and how every one of us is flawed in some way and that your family is not the only dysfunctional one – by far. We would be a pretty boring society if we were all perfect! 🙂

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    • Don’t forget Pebbles! 🙂 That is so true, Maria. Unfortunately our media promotes the need to be perfect, which is destructive, especially for the younger generation. Our flaws are what make us unique. Have a wonderful weekend, Maria!

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  6. Well said! I’m with you on Fred! Best wishes, Jill…

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  7. There is nothing worse than a cardboard character who has the potential to be so three-dimensional. Yabba-dabba-doo!!

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  8. So true, Susan. I remember getting bored pretty quick playing with my paper dolls as a child. If you didn’t have them, they were made out of cardboard. 🙂 Yabba-dabba-doo to you too! Enjoy the weekend!

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  9. I’m sure you’ve noticed that most of the good kids shows that people remember are populated with people who mess up over and over again and often feel foolish, which describes most people. I agree that perfect people are bland! I’ve stopped reading books because the hero or heroine was to vanilla. Give me someone trying to quit smoking at least.

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  10. That was quite an obsession, Jill! You’re taking me right back there with you. I just know I’m going to be walking through the park this morning singing that signature tune… 🙂

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  11. Thanks for the reminder Jill. I’m newish to this writing malarkey and your post – and some of the comments – have made me frown a bit in the realisation that I need to work on my characters. It’s easy to make them one-dimensional and predictable. Must work on different traits, habits, guilty secrets, surprising obsessions…

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  12. You’re welcome, Roy. I’m learning right along with you. I recently read a post where the writer does character interrogations rather than a typical interview, when developing her characters. I plan to give that a try. Have a great weekend!

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  13. What a great post Jill. I started to read and was so engrossed in it and it finished too soon. Your topics are so interesting we all relate to them. Simply beautifully put thoughts. I agree perfect characters are too bland and lifeless. LOL I still love cartoons.

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  14. Yabba-dabba-doo to your post, Jill. I completely agree. We want to root for the protagonist to struggle, learn and eventually overcome the obstacles set before him/her.

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  15. I recently finished a book where the protagonist was never able to overcome her obstacles. It was so different from anything I’ve ever read. I enjoyed it, but was left feeling a little depressed at the end.

    I’m looking forward to your daughter’s next post, on your blog, about her trip to Italy! Enjoy the weekend and wishing your husband a Happy Father’s Day!

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  16. Jill, I agree with you that perfect characters are boring:-) I put the book aside if the characters are too “good”. I didn’t watch any cartoons while growing up. We only had a radio:-)

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  17. During my life time, I’ve failed to meet a perfect person, so why would we write about one. I’ve done the same thing, Elaine. I’ve put a book aside despite a good plot because the character was too unbelievable. Radio is cool, I’m sure it helps with your visual sense…something I need to work on that. Love your 9/11 post and photo! Have a great weekend!

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  18. Hi, I’ve nominated you for The Liebster Award!

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  19. I suppose our childhood crushes and attachments are more to do with our imagination running wild. As we experience new personalities and situations, our capacity for excitement and deriving creative strings from that is high. So would it mean that what we perceive as adult levelheadedness and maturity is merely the blunting of our childhood excitement? Is that not a loss of who we were once?

    Shakti

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  20. What a great reminder, Jill!! We try so hard as writers to make our characters likable. Yet even likable people can be irksome sometimes. They make mistakes though well meaning. That’s what made Fred Flintstone such a great character!

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    • So true! If something bad was going to happen, it happened to poor Fred. He always seemed to overcome his obstacles with a smile on his face, which made him such a likeable character. Thanks for stopping and taking the time to comment. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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  21. I went through a Sailor Moon phase when I was a kid – I think I liked her so much because she was whiny and wimpy and overly dramatic/ridiculous, but as the show went on she slowly became more confident and brave. I think having that room to improve is really important in our fiction, and there have been plenty of books that I didn’t love because the main character was just way too perfect. Like you said, I never had any doubt they’d be able to handle all their problems, so I didn’t care about them. Great post, as always! 🙂

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    • Thanks ~ I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Okay, I must be old enough to be your mom because I’ve never heard of Sailor Moon. 🙂 That probably means you don’t know who The Flintstones are! You’re exactly right, room for improvement and growth is vital for our characters.

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  22. I absolutely loved watching The Flintstones, Jill. We still talk about the episodes today (my favourite was when Dino ran away and Fred put a candle in the window for him so he’d find his way home – it still brings tears to my eyes! LOL). What a great post about characters – it’s so true that perfect people are boring as characters 😀

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  23. Great analogy. May we all create more flawed Freds in our writing!

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