I just finished reading a great post on characterization by Angel Lawson that perfectly describes our drive for not only unrepentant a**holes, but imperfect characters. No one wants to read the character who says all the right things and never messes up, nor the character that follows routine: when things go wrong they know immediately how to fix them.
More often then not I get one of two things while reading those characters: bored with them to the point of skimming or putting the book down for another, or frustrated with them because it’s like they’re following some textbook.
I completely agree with her, reading, watching and even writing the jerk is so much fun. But the ones who are unrepentant, who own up to their actions without apology are the best, there’s oftentimes so much more depth to those characters without having to pander or reach into pools or self-pity or consternation. Characters can be sweet as well, but I don’t think that’s realistic in a person. All people are flawed, it”s the degree to which we’re flawed in which makes us different, approachable, hero or villain.
Since I feel like I’m not only repeating myself but Angel, I’m going to stop here. But I’ll just say this: Pay attention to the characters you read, who you write, which ones are you drawn to and connect with? What is it about them? Do they have a darker side, do you like that or respect that aspect in them?
~Let the Ink Run Free