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What keeps a good guy from being a bland guy?
I don't know about you, but my favorite characters are villains...
I'm sure that says a lot about me.
We won't go there...
Think about it.
Can you name more villains or good guys?
(I know which one I can name more of and it ain't the good guys)
If you picked villains you are (right) like me. Why is that? Why are villains more memorable than the good, moral, law abiding folk? For me, the villain is the character who is most human-- the one with the flaws, has the motivation (be it getting 'revenge' or world domination) and yeah, usually the most entertaining.
But your good guys don't have to be boring. They don't have to be the moral high towers who can't even barb with the bad guys because "That's not what good guys do"
How can you keep your protagonist interesting in your novel? Let's take a look...
5 Ways to Make Interesting Good Guys
1) Make him/her imperfect.
Just because someone is 'good' doesn't mean he/she is perfect. Flaws give humanity to any character. None of us are perfect and your protagonist won't be either.
2) Give him/her a weakness.
Superman has Kryptonite.
I have chocolate.
We all have weaknesses.
Weaknesses up the stakes and gives the reader a reason to care. Plus it leads to internal struggles beyond the 'bad guy'.
3) Give him/her some good comeback lines
Sure, bad guys are fun and all and say the best lines ever-- but don't forget your protagonist. Even heroes have a sense of humor.
4) Give him/her a moral compass
...but Kelly you just said.
I know what I bloody just said ;) Even imperfect people have morals. Everyone (well most everyone) has something in this world that they will not do-- and usually THAT is the thing villains pick up on and try to force him/her to do (evil things).
Push your good guy to the breaking point
Have someone addicted to chocolate? Lock him/her in a bakery and watch the internal struggle fly. Anything to keep the conflict churning.
5) Help them help themselves
There is a difference in sitting back and letting everything happen to you-- and getting up and trying to stop it. Frodo could have easily sat back and either tossed the ring or just given it to Gollum and been done with it. That would have been a very short story-- and an incredibly boring book.
Have your good guy get in on the action. Don't just let the bad guy run all over him and don't just have him/her react to things around them and not be productive in solving the problem.
As with the villain, the good guy should be layered. Make him memorable by making him complex.
I love hearing from you! To prove it, every comment I get in January will go into a hat. One person will be randomly chosen to win either a 1st chapter critique from me (no grammar edits. Just content) OR a free meme made especially for you.
~*~My internet dwellings ~*~