Twenty-Six Days of Creative Inspiration
When we create characters, we must give them flaws. Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind hits the jackpot in the flaws department.
She is self-serving, ruthless, conniving, petulant, manipulative, inflexible, conceited, arrogant, and a downright mean man-stealing witch. Scarlett makes false promises to men so they idolize her. She even marries her sister's beau on a whim and spends the better part of the book chasing Ashley Wilkes, a married man.
So why are readers so drawn to her?
The girl's got gumption. Gone With the Wind is the official handbook of gumption. She faces her challenges head on. I'd love to be that brave.
Scarlett also had a profound sense of family. She may torture the people she loves, but you know she would die for them if she had to. As much as she wanted to flee in the face of the Yankees marching on Atlanta, she didn't leave Melanie and her newborn. When everyone was starving at Tara in the waning days of the Civil War she did everything she could to put food on the table. Scarlett was willing to sacrifice her virtue to Rhett Butler to get tax money to save her family home.
We spend the book torn between slapping Scarlett and rooting her on. She transforms as the story progresses and the Scarlett at the end of the book is not the same one flirting with the Tarleton twins on page one. Her character journey is a great ride and somewhere along the way we all get behind her.
How do you feel about Scarlett O'Hara?
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