There is a common character trend in the books I write, and that trend is: I always favor the bad boy over the good one. At first, that might sound a bit sketchy, but I think most of you know what I mean. The character with a tortured past, or a snarky attitude, or general bad behavior becomes the one I love the most.
I write them with more care than I do the others. I take more interest in them. frequently, they overtake the story and become the main character, all because I find them more interesting and worthwhile than the rest of the cast. It began young, too. When I was fourteen, I had Eristor. Now I have Jasper from Natural Disasters, Angel from This Mortal Coil, and even Rusty from Paper Hearts.
A good friend told me earlier today,
“I never used to be one who went for ‘bad boys’…I liked my heroes thoroughly good. Not faultless, but definitely Knight in Shing Armor types. Then came Marvel’s Thor and Avengers and Tom Hiddleston’s MAGNIFICENT job playing Loki. And I fell in love, not so much with LOKI, but with Tom’s portrayal of Loki…. The way he could take this embittered, jealous, out-for-world-domination character, and show the vulnerable moments….I suddenly found myself mesmerized by all the layers to the character… and musing on them.”
Then she asked me, Why do you write guys like this? What is it about you that pulls them to you? What is your opinion on ‘knights in shining armor’ versus the more ‘bad-boy’ character?
I could just say, “Because I like them better,” because that’s the truth. I do. But there are reasons for that, and so I’ll tell you.
1. Hope. One of the reasons I love to write (or read, or watch) about the ‘bad boy’ so much is because they build hope inside you. You want to see them do the right thing. The selfless thing. You want to see them rise, to become better than who they are. And so you keep turning pages, or writing them, or watching, rooting for them.
2. Redeemability. While you’re holding out hope that they’ll become better, the bad boys I like have this quality in common. They can be bad – they can have killed thousands of people, but if there’s a spark of redeemability in them, then I’ll continue to root for that spark.
3. Attitude. Bad boys just have more attitude, let’s face it. And more attitude means more sarcasm, more snark, and more humor – all of which are things I appreciate.
4. Mystery. They’re mysterious. They’re intriguing. You want to know more about them. You want to know what made them this way. You want to pull aside the curtain of their character and see what makes them tick.
5. Growth. I’m not saying I don’t love the good guys, too – those solid, sweet, white knight guys – because I do. I DO love them. But very often, they’re static. They remain solidly good through the whole story, and there isn’t a lot of personal growth going on. You can’t grow with them, because they’re already grown.
The bad-boy is my favorite kind of character because I’m holding out for a hero. I’m rooting hard for them; I want them to make the right decision. I want to see them do something selfless. I want to see them experience love. I want to see them fall and get back up. I want to see them make me proud. I want to see their human side, whether they’re an elemental or a vampire. So now you know what draws me to these characters, and what you can expect from most of my novels. (Even Mir was a sort of inverted bad-boy, in his own way. Sure, he was a completely sweet and adorable person, but he was also a vicious killer. Most people don’t even realize that until I point it out, which is always fun.)
“Somewhere after midnight
In my wildest fantasy
Somewhere just beyond my reach
There’s someone reaching back for me
Racing on the thunder and rising with the heat
It’s gonna take a superman to sweep me off my feet.”