They’re not necessarily a symbol of rebellion. I have a couple tattoos, and I promise you I didn’t get them to stick it to the man; I just happen to like art. Don’t use a tattoo as a way to make your character seem like a bad boy/girl.
Hip clothes and thrift store skirts don’t automatically make someone edgy. Some people wear baggy pants because they like to be comfortable, not because they’re gangsters. Some people shop at thrift stores because they can’t afford JC Penneys, not because they’re trying to be “alternative.” Clothes are like costumes; they’re not built-in personalities for your characters.
3. Quirky Names
Christening your love interest Darien Marco Silver doesn’t mean that readers will automatically believe he’s a sexy rebel with a motorcycle. A name is just a name; your character needs a personality as well.
A little snark goes a long way toward rounding out a character’s personality, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that your character is One Bad Dude. Sarcasm is a form of humor – it’s not always about defiance.
So, how do you give your rebel characters that extra edge? What tricks have you seen in YA literature that are used to make characters seem more interesting?