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Embracing Your Dark Side

Just don't expect us to share.

shut up spell check. It's totally a word.

It's how we writers can make a reader care about someone who has a witch for a best friend and two smoking hot vampire brothers chasing after her (because abstractly, I kind of want to hate her and her good fortune).
Just needed an excuse to google Somerhalder this morning.

It's what makes us root for the geeky, less than coordinated, just-looking-for-a-shred-of-luck girl.

Was I the only spasticly awesome nerd?

Because we all share a common thread.
Someone promised me cookies. I want my cookie!

How did Darth get in this post?

Surely, there's no way we have anything in common with that man. I mean, we watched him play slice and dice with his lightsaber in a room full of little jedi younglings. That's cruel and cold-hearted. Unacceptable. Inexcusable.

So what if it was because his mind had been twisted over the thought of losing his one love and turning to the dark side was the only way he thought he could save her . . .

Huh. Well that still doesn't make what Darth did okay. But it does make a little more sense.*

Most importantly, it makes for an intriguing and complex character.

But we already knew villains need to have a little good in them--some small streak of humanity to ensure they're more than just a crusty old caricature--to make the story all the more compelling. However, we shouldn't overlook our main characters when dishing out sides of darkness. Whether we like it or not, we've all got a little bit of evil inside.

Yoda was a wise man (well. unspecified creature) and said many things worth remembering, but his teaching of the force wasn't always spot on.

Wrong sometimes I am.
 "But beware. Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny."

Not only does the little green guy have a tendency to murder proper sentence structure, but he's basically condemned all of us to the dark side because the emotions he speaks of are the very ones we all carry around. And yes, they might be responsible for some of our less than stellar moments, but they're also what makes us human. Which is what makes us relatable. dammit spell check. Mark my words, I will end you.

So the next time you're staring at that spreadsheet of eye color, nose shape, and quirky habits for your main character, don't forget to add in a little drop of evil. You're not creating a character to win a Ms. Congeniality  (or maybe you are. But you get my point.). You're creating something flawed. Something unique. Something human.

I'm certainly not perfect. Neither are you. But we've got friends and family that still love us, and your main characters--flaws and all--will still find readers that love them, too.

*the poster is in no way condoning the actions of young Anakin. Only illustrating that love, and all the other emotions we humans carry, lead us to other feelings and actions that at times make us act in ways we normally might not.

Amanda Hannah

Amanda grew up on a big farm in a small town with one stoplight, one school, and a handful of imaginary friends.She would’ve gone to college forever, but eight years and five majors tested her advisor’s patience. So she moved to Germany to explore creepy castles before landing in Spain where she’s perfecting her Flamenco.

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  1. So true! Characters without flaws and imperfections who never make mistakes are unrealistic and, quite frankly, not nearly as enjoyable to read as those who do make mistakes and bad decisions.

  2. When I was younger I had such an issue including flaws in my main character which caused lots of Mary Sue's.

  3. This is a great post!
    Plus I like the slightly evil. Keeps things interesting.

  4. Muahahahaha! The darkness compels you! All of us, really. I find myself most drawn to the flawed characters, the 'troubled' characters. Which is why they're so fun to write.

    I've been struggling with how to make my MC as 'fun' as her wicked younger cousin, and I think this may be the solution. Great post!

  5. I love a character who has a dark side and living in the grey zone! Definately more fun than the 100% goody-two-shoes who always has to do the good, right thing.

    I sometimes get tired when the hero/heroine is unable to kill the enemy - they're just going to pop up again in your life and try and destroy everything you love. Get rid of them when you have the chance!

    Ahem *cough* rant over. Apologies.

    I just want to see a hero/heroine who has a little darkness/grey in them. Who's human and feels anger, revenge, hate - just like the rest of us.

  6. I love stories with villains as complex as the main character, also when the villain is a concept, such as time or the entire world.

  7. Great post! The flaws are what make us human and...relatable. :)

  8. Great post and so very true! I am about to give my MC a new take on her dark side and I´m excited. What I am finding out as well is that my "evil" character may be bad but he is not that "evil".

  9. Ah, drop of evil. One of my favorite Villain Protagonists has that special touch. One of my more recent favorites is flawed in a messed-up way.


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Item Reviewed: Embracing Your Dark Side Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Amanda Hannah