So, having been on this site for site for roughly two years, I have come to a conclusion about the idea of "The perfect character"
Note: The following will contain few to many grammatical errors and I ask you to avoid staring at them for too long as it is rude and it embarrasses them, especially in public, they only exist due to my rushed typing of this.
The more I think about it the clearer it becomes about how hard it truly is to make a perfect character, based on what I've seen here's what I can deduce.
Many people feel that a "perfect" character will have enough flaws to counter his qualities while having perfectly understandable reactions to all scenarios that most if not all readers can relate to, they must be able to evolve as a person the moment they realise their flaws and should rarely, if never repeat the same mistake twice UNLESS it is something that is just part of their character e.g. a clumsy character who always bumps into doors because he never looks where he's going. They must learn that not all problems can't be solved with their fists/hooves/spectral pulsation lighters/whatever you want them to have and they have to resort to diplomacy and the reverse also being true... this is all poppycock.
Now, the majority of you smart little kiddies will have probably seen "perfect" and will have known what was coming, gold stars for you lot. The rest of you, not so much. When we think of such a term, we're not looking for a godlike being as we as people can't relate to them because we can't jump fifty stories, headbutt the devil into submission and stop earthquakes by sneezing (Unless you're Yujiro Hanma that is) but what we can relate to is a character who struggles with the same things we do, whether it be mentally, physically or even something silly like they think their jokes are funny but they always end up a little upset when nobody laughs. However, while these are all good things, I can't really think of a real person that has even half of qualities I mentioned in the paragraph above.
Lets take one my friends for example, we'll call him Mr. Zed for now. Mr Zed is somewhat "perfect" from certain standpoints, he's physically fit, he's in all the top classes, he doesn't lack common sense, he's social and outgoing and the only real flaw is that he's sometimes cocky about it. Now say we put this into a story on this site and we call our character...... "Steel-Work, Ironhoof" Ironhoof is: smarter than the average pony; stronger than the average pony; he's working trying to take up the family business of being a blacksmith so he has a wide array of knowledge when it comes to products of steel (Weapons, armour, wheels for a train, trains, the hoof-plates that some ponies probably have to wear in certain jobs etc) and while doing all this he goes about and spends time with his friends but now and than he likes to brag but only sometimes.
See, nothing wrong there and yet we only have a minor flaw for a character and he seems perfectly normal. With this lesson on "The character doesn't need to have a major flaw e.g. they're lacking in some department," we can understand that a lot of characters aren't actually that bad, the problem is how people see how they work in certain situations.
So time for our quick example.
After moving to Ponyville, Ironhoof manages to set up a small repair shop while still training as a blacksmith under his father. After a while an announcement blah blah summer sun blah blah celestia (you get the picture) after the shocking news that Nightmare Moon has return spreads Iron runs/gallops out to see if there's anything he can do to help, while on his way he see a group of mares running into the Everfree forest, fearing for their safety/assuming their in league with Nightmare Moon he follows them. After the usual tests and such they arrive at the castle, Twilight teleports, elements but in this scenario we throw a curveball. The actual metalwork of the elements have broken, while the jewels are in tact, lets say the elements won't work if they can't stay on the users, so after a brief scare Iron runs in, Twilight teleports them out (or something like that) and Iron attempts to fix the EoH but realises he can't unless he obtains certain ores and such.
TL:DR start here
Now here's where I cut in and explain. At this very point we have the scenario in which makes or breaks most character who are otherwise fine. If the author can't explain why the character has this sort of knowledge, we have a problem. Iron is a blacksmith in a world of magic, monsters and many other strange things so it would stand to reason that if you were trying to make it as one, you would know about these famous artifacts and the metals which they compose of.
"So what's the point of all this Ice?" I don't hear you ask.
My point is there aren't that many poor characters as there are poorly written explanations. Many fics I've read have had some great characters but they get ridiculed because the author didn't think to explain these things. The most recent example being "Mr. A knew how to solve this problem that Twilight Sparkle had been stuck on, automatically." what they failed to mention was that Mr.A was actually an expert in the field, something that should have been mentioned sooner rather 15 chapters in which made it seem more like a cop out at the time.
And for anybody wondering, this blog is 1011 words long, which is about the length of your average fic's chapter.
Put your say in the comments below.