Friday, July 09, 2010

You're Just So...

Okay, I'll admit it...I'm one of those people. You know...authors who don't like to do bad things. Yes, I know every good deed must have a bad one, and because every hero and heroine need a villain, I do delve into the not so nice category. In fact, every character needs to vacillate between the two extremes, though not with severe mood swings.

If a character remains even keel through the whole book (much less a series) it signifies they haven't grown and readers will get...bored/aggitated. You know those characters who are too stupid to live? Think about too goody two shoes to do something they really must do. Hence, no believability that the hero or heroine (much less the villain) will do the deed they must do to turn the tide of the book. If your reader doesn't believe your character can pull off a feat, then they won't believe any part of the book. (Think of those made for tv movies you don't want to admit you tuned in to, though you really thought there would be a twist end!)



Being a good girl or good boy has it's moments...especially when they turn bad or the author hints at a little badness lurking beneath the surface. (A costume/weapons collection, a night-time hobby, etc.) Several authors pull this off with good girls gone bad thanks to a bad boy or a no good rake. Though in more modern times we've also seen the sexist twist where the ladies do the honors of corruption. Of course, the latest rage is to transform a baddy into a goody...as in a hero who's been reformed. Sometimes even a villain will find salvation in a continuation story of his own!

Of course for that to happen your villain can't be too bad...I mean who'd want to see a serial killer turn up on match.com trying to find a true love? It just wouldn't be plausible, since readers would be waiting for the reversion of character. Any moment you'd wait to see some little bit of his/her old MO rear up.

We all have our good points and moments of weakness (that sometimes lead to our downfall) and characters need them too! So try not to make your cast too good or too bad, but a delightful mix that doesn't leave a bland taste behind. Think of a chocolate chip cookie with white and dark morsels. The cookie is the base and the ooey gooey chips are the good and bad mixed in to provide just the right unexpected pop!



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1 comment:

Angela Kay Austin said...

Characters that are sort of flatlined can be boring. I agree. It's funny because as a reader I find myelf pulling away from the next piece...book or movie because of incidences like you've described. As a writer, I try not to create those types of characters. There was a writing class I took a while ago that focused on the story theme and characterization. That class helped me a lot with tracking character development.