Apparently many of my characters are pricks.
That doesn’t bother me so much, as a fact, but I’ve been thinking about who I have, and what they’re like.
Matthew / the Miracle: as you’d imagine for a superhero, is generally a pretty nice man. Of course he has anger inside him, and a surprising sense of humor, but tries to do the right thing for, well… everyone! (He’s a little conflicted ;P )
Dalsarion: Ok, yes! He leaves his partner behind in the land of the dead! But there are circumstances people. Not really an arsehole, more just a little bit dumb.
Andy / Dragon king: Here’s where they start getting good 😀 even though he’s just a kid, is that actually a pass for consciously playing with his own friend’s heads for fun? For being actively cruel? Though it does set him up for a wonderful, slow fall.
Jacob: Oh. So. Damaged. As you’d expect a young man who has chosen illiteracy as a lifestyle for himself (oh dear, and just now I’ve seen the difficulties of that as ‘code’ for homosexuality! I’m gonna have to work through that in the rest of the novel 😉 ).
Here, then, is another character who I’ve specifically made nasty for the character opportunities.
Much like going with the ‘stupid‘ as a writing strategy, this I call going for the ‘mean.’
… I suppose I could just as well go for ‘nice’ (as I have for Matthew, above, but really, nice characters tend to be less self sufficient, and thus require more of a supporting cast around them. It’s true!)
The idea is that character arcs are parabolic. Whether they start off as good or cruel, you get the story moving by doing bad things to your main. The reader should then either want to see them restored, or in turn come back renewed and triumphant.
It’s not necessarily an easy strategy to have nasty characters, but it is a good one. Keeps a reader coming.
Now let’s see…
Prince Sapiens: casually, thoughtlessly? Blissfully… no, I don’t think you can really call him bad. Not when, at least from a subjective point of view, he is incapable of cruelty, only really of introspection.
Adam Kadamon: is the Angel of God’s Wrath, so… yeah…
And Emlen? Well! You’ll have to read the book to find out (did I just call him a main? Well yes, I think I just did! Heh, go figure. Learn something new every post.)