Finding your Character’s Blind Spot by DiAnn Mills

Every character has a blind spot, an area where he/she is most vulnerable. Within that emotional darkness, the character lacks understanding, ignores or is unaware of a potentially harmful situation. Through a series of planned deception, the opposition successfully deceives and manipulates the character.

The reality can be painful and devastating, but it can be a vehicle to usher in truth, growth, and change. Discovering a blind spot uncovers information about the character’s behavior, and the knowledge paves the way for motivation and plot. Blind spots aren’t limited to antagonists. Our protagonists can be resistant to lies, charm, or an intoxicating lure.

Writers root blind spots in backstory, the character’s life experiences that affect the character’s goals, conflicts, and desires before chapter one, line one of the story. From the backstory, we discover how flaws and weaknesses can create areas that deceive the character. The story player who is conscious of the tendencies can overcome them through soul-searching investigation. But the character who disregards a blind spot will eventually face the consequences.

  • Protagonists and antagonists share similar traits of blind spots.
  • Both types of characters are capable of being deceived.
  • Both types of characters can notice the problem.
  • Both types of characters are capable of overcoming their weakness.
  • Both types of characters have a choice.

Dealing with a blind spot is an opportunity for transformation, either before or after the story begins. Click To Tweet

For the Protagonist
Dealing with a blind spot is an opportunity for transformation, either before or after the story begins. Sometimes the writer shows an unveiling of a blind spot to create emotional tension that endears the reader to the character. These characters have traits to become dynamic heroes and heroines.

Two scenarios can take place:

  1. The protagonist realized the blind spot during the backstory. He/she overcame the problem. The character now uses the past to help other characters who have not reconciled with the weak trait.
  2. The protagonist didn’t recognize the blind spot, but other strengths masked the weak area, giving the character a boost to their status. Dealing with the unaddressed issue is imperative to the plot.

High stakes result if the opposition discovers the weakness, decreasing the chances of the protagonist to reach his goal.

For the Antagonist
Just like the protagonist, if the opposition discovers the blind spot, the antagonist will struggle to reach his/her goal. This can be a method of stopping the inappropriate behavior.

Two scenarios can take place:

  • The antagonist has never discovered the blind spot. The character covered any inadequacies with abilities to manipulate others that originate in charm, wealth, or power.
  • The antagonist refused to recognize a frail part of his landscape. Arrogance overrules any desire to change.

Methods of Revealing Blind Spots

While the writer is developing the character, details from the past and present indicate the vulnerable areas to use a blind spot. The how is initiated by the opposition using the weakness when the character least suspects it. The why is reflected in the character’s goals, weaknesses, and personality. The use may only be once, but numerous occurrences allow the character to look fragile and perhaps unstable.

A blind spot can whirl in the midst of a character struggling to achieve wants and needs, adding stress, tension, and conflict to the storyline.

Emotion is how the character believes feelings should be internalized, displayed, or hidden. This is a mix of inherited traits and learned behavior. The character who handles emotions in an unhealthy manner often encounters blind spots that hinder appropriate reactions to life’s problems.

A symbol is a tangible item that means something psychological to the character—and translates the same emotional response to the reader. By providing an evocative and emotional experience, we enable a reader to identify elements of the story beyond the written word. A blind spot often reaches into the depth of a character’s psychological makeup and manifests itself in a symbol.

While dialogue is fresh, new, and has spirit, within the words a character speaks reflects what occupies his/her mind. A blind spot translates to denial or avoidance in what a character says and often in conflict with another character(s).

Every character has a potential blind spot. It’s up to the writer to discover the flaw and use the information to the story’s advantage. Click To Tweet

A character who has an obstructed view of a setting cannot comprehend the savagery at which a setting can turn against him. They are taken unaware by an environment either mental, physical, or spiritual.

Every character has a potential blind spot. It’s up to the writer to discover the flaw and use the information to the story’s advantage.

How are you using a character’s blind spot to move your story ahead?

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Retreats: Marketing, Speakers, Nonfiction and Novelist with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion for helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

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