I'm a sucker for a good flawed character. In fact, when creating new characters I often focus on what their flaws are instead of their attributes. Attributes are easy, they work themselves out. Flaws are more difficult. Nobody wants their hero to be a drug addict, egomaniac, liar, jerk, or any number of otherwise wonderful flaws. Why not? That's what makes them interesting and more importantly, relatable.
Cruiser is one of our more dedicated flawed characters. He's largely and proudly a jerk. I've written any number of scenes where he is entirely unapologetic for his behavior and often dismisses it with a simple, “I'm a jackass.” As though that explains it all. Hello... acceptance of your Neanderthal state in no way justifies it!
He doesn't care.
What we don't know, and what makes drifting off into unknown territories, or falling down rabbit holes if you will, is the extent to which these flaws affect the characters.
Cruiser loves his niece like any father would. Perhaps more so. They share a unique bond. No lies, no talking around uncomfortable topics and more importantly they can be mad at each other with nobodies feelings getting hurt. It makes for some interesting play.
The other day we decided to venture further into Cruiser's niece, Juliet. What happens as she grows up? We've known her love interest was going to be Jax for quite some time. How do we get those two to start talking? To transition from Juliet being part of Jax's assignments to a romantic interest? Turns out, what started as one innocent scene dominoed into several scenes that revealed a whole new level of character flaw with Cruiser. And eventually, ever so beautifully and more eloquently than we ever could have planned it, it led to character resolution.
I love flawed characters. More so, I love how deep those flaws run and how when least expected the characters insist on growing up and moving on.