Currently viewing the tag: "flaws"


I never knew my mother, and I never understood why she did what she did. -Carrie Vaughan, Amaryllis

Writing Prompt: Using the first line above, write a story or scene.

Journaling Prompt: Did your mother ever do something that you didn’t understand? Now that you’re older, do you have any more ideas why she did it?

Art Prompt: Mother

Photo Credit: Sanna T. on Flickr


You’ve met this person. The guy who is always on edge, always waiting to be offended, always building walls that block any communication.

…you get the impression that you are addressing an elaborately wired security system. If the conversation edges toward areas in which he feels ill at ease or unwilling to commit himself, burglar alarms are triggered off, defensive reflexes rise around him like an invisible stockade, and you hear the distant baying of guard dogs. -by Kenneth Tynan, FIFTEEN YEARS OF THE SALTO MORTALE

Writing Prompt: Create a character sketch about a defensive character. What happened to make him or her this way? What triggers the defensive mechanisms and why? What questions is he or she trying to avoid?

Journaling Prompt: What topics bring out defensiveness in you? Why?

Art Prompt: Defensiveness

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about how defensiveness affects relationships and how to deal with defensive people

Photo Credit: ell brown on Flickr

woman looks at sky

The pros and cons of narcissism is fascinating as we watch our culture gets more and more narcissistic. I’ve included just a snippet of the information. If you are writing characters, you’ll want to read the entire article and follow the links in it for more information.

For years, psychologists have observed that people routinely overestimate their abilities, said study leader Dominic Johnson, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Some experts have suggested that overconfidence can be a good thing, perhaps by boosting ambition, resolve, and other traits, creating self-fulfilling prophecies.

But positive self-delusion can also lead to faulty assessments, unrealistic expectations, and hazardous decisions, according to the study—making it a mystery why overconfidence remains a key human trait despite thousands of years of natural selection, which typically weeds out harmful traits over generations.

Now, new computer simulations show that a false sense of optimism, whether when deciding to go to war or investing in a new stock, can often improve your chances of winning. -Christine Dell’Amore, National Geographic News

Writing Prompt: What is your character overconfident about? How does that benefit her? How does that cause her to make risky decisions?

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you were overconfident and how that affected your decision-making.

Art Prompt: Overconfidence

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the benefits of overconfidence

Photo Credit: Mustafa Khayat on Flickr


The old commercial asked, “Is it real, or is it Memorex?” Perhaps a better question would be “Is that a lie, or did you just forget?”

“The fallibility of memory is well established in the scientific literature, but mistaken intuitions about memory persist,” Chabris said. “The extent of these misbeliefs helps explain why so many people assume that politicians who may simply be remembering things wrong must be deliberately lying.”

The new findings also have important implications for proceedings in legal cases, the researchers said.

“Our memories can change even if we don’t realize they have changed,” Simons said. “That means that if a defendant can’t remember something, a jury might assume the person is lying. And misremembering one detail can impugn their credibility for other testimony, when it might just reflect the normal fallibility of memory.” –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a poem or scene where someone has to deal with being accused of lying when they really just forgot.

Journaling Prompt: How do you react when you think someone is lying to you?

Art Prompt: I Forgot

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the malleability of memory and give them strategies for dealing with people who may not remember.

Photo Credit: batabidd on Flickr


I have been accused of being anal retentive, an over-achiever, and a compulsive perfectionist, like those are bad things. -Lisa Yee, Millicent Min, Girl Genius

Writing Prompt: List your character’s weaknesses and strengths. How are her weaknesses actually strengths that will help her in your story? How are her strengths actually weaknesses that will create difficulties for her?

Journaling Prompt: How do people misjudge your strengths as weaknesses?

Art Prompt: Perfectionist

NonFiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about your personal qualities that have a negative connotation generally but that you believe are positive attributes.

Photo Credit: babukadja on Flickr

lost girl

Everyone has flaws. Most of us have mental flaws: thoughts that niggle at us and hold us back from acting on our dreams. Any good hero must face their flaws and overcome them in order to engage the reader in their journey. Villains, too, have mental flaws. Here is a secret about one way to write these flaws:

An assumed constraint is a belief, based on past experience, that limits current and future experiences… Indicators that an assumed constraint may be holding you hostage are negative internal dialogue, excuses, and blaming statements. -Ken Blanchard, Leading at a Higher Level, Revised and Expanded Edition: Blanchard on Leadership and Creating High Performing Organizations
Writing Prompt: Make a list of your protagonist’s assumed constraints. How are each of these shown by his actions and dialogue? How are they driving your story?
Journaling Prompt: Write about one of your assumed constraints and how you would like to challenge it.

Art Prompt: Excuses

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about assumed constraints and how they can overcome them.

Photo Credit: Helga Weber on Flickr