|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
WHY A BALANCED CHARACTER MAY APPEAR A TOUCH UNBALANCED
WHY SOME OF MY FAVORITE HEROES AREN'T HEROES ALL THE TIME.
Most of us are familiar with the Batman of the Dark Knight Series. The hero who rises above his own selfish motivations but still has that dark side that makes him flawed but compelling. It's the same thing you get in cable TVs DEXTER or the character presented by Sheriff Bullock in the HBO DEADWOOD series. These are the good guys with the right motivation but the wrong methodology or morality at times. (Well, in Dexter's case, most of the time.)
Believe it or not, these unbalanced mentalities are categorized as 'balanced characters'. How is that? Simply, any character who is one hundred percent good or bad is a very one dimensional portrayal and, frankly, damned boring. Just as conflict in your plot results in a story that draws in your reader and not just invites but demands they strap in for the ride, so do complex characters who display a range of strengths and weaknesses.
You need to pay special attention to this when you are creating your protagonist and antagonist. There are just as many well developed and compelling bad guys who are the reading public's most memorable characters as there are compelling heroes. Even a well intentioned good guy will have to overcome some inner struggle before we accept and
embrace him as human. The most despicable villain may be acting out of perfectly understandable reasons and motivations.
It is up to you as the author to explore all your main character's good and bad attributes in order to make them as believable as you can. Just as the people who inhabit our real world have intermingled traits, so must those who inhabit our created settings. A person's strengths often inform their weaknesses. As a writer you have the advantage of being able to look into a character's heart and mind and show these complexities to your audience.
Meanwhile...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis