Last night I was texting my boyfriend about my novel. He ended up asking who the “bad guys” were and who needed to “step it up.” I had a hard time answering that second question because all of my characters have redeeming qualities to them.
I think, depending on the genre/audience of your work, that every character needs to have redeeming qualities. Now this goes beyond my post about round characters. What I mean here is specifically with those bad guys. I want to love how much I hate them.
Easy examples to point to are Voldemort from Harry Potter and Loki from Thor. You kind of feel bad for these guys, but at the same time, they totally deserve everything that gets handed to them. And that’s what I want my characters to be like (even though I don’t necessarily have that evil of characters).
Even my characters that seem that they would be unlikeable due to specific characteristics (I happen to have a character who is an attractive guy who is very much aware of this – he was the character in question from my text conversation) should have qualities that make the reader second think those initial judgements.
I’m not saying here that your bad guy has to really be good deep down. It probably wouldn’t work out so well if that was the case. What I am saying, though, is that it is more engaging (I think) to find likable moments or qualities in a character even if everything else about them overshadows these small things.