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in-between. My antagonists were entirely villainous with few, if any, redeemable qualities. My protagonists were the essence of good and had little to be ashamed of.
I had this thinking, I suppose, of pure good against pure evil, but what I didn’t realize is that people are rarely completely black or white—our morals and our understanding of what is good and what is bad come in shades of gray.
I discovered over the course of several manuscripts that I really enjoy writing characters who struggle against that darker side of themselves—whether it’s addiction, rage, a thirst for revenge, or something else. Characters who make terrible mistakes with dire consequences and have to face and accept the side of themselves that they so desperately want to bury.
Characters who aren’t white or black, but somewhere in between.
When I say “write gray characters” I don’t mean characters who are apathetic, or boring, or plain—I mean antagonists who feel justified in their actions, and protagonists who make bad decisions and say and do things they didn’t mean. I mean write characters who are dynamic, who struggle to make decisions, who aren’t always sure if they’re doing the right thing, or what the right thing really is.
Because the truth is, no one is 100% evil or 100% good. So why should our characters be any different?
Think back to your favorite characters—are they entirely black or white, or are they gray?
Are your characters black, white or gray? (Click to tweet)
Do you write gray characters? Here's why you should. (Click to tweet)