Oh, Those Flawed Characters

Let’s talk about those fictional beings that lure us into a good story.  I love a flawed character.   One that even might bend a few laws, break a few rules, or spout off something that later he’d give his right arm to take back.  

I think these imperfections make our characters feel real, human.  And yet, I have a line that a character must not cross for me to fall in love with them. For a story to really resonate with me, these fictional characters must still be a hero. Their good qualities must outweigh their flaws.  Now I like a bad villain in a story.  But I need a hero to take him down. I can like a villain more than I can dislike a hero. Does that make sense?

I love to write about tough characters who are a bit rogue, who sort of play by their own rules.  In my YA books the character who come to mind first is, Della, in Shadow Falls. Della would butt heads with anyone, but nine times out of ten, it was in defense of someone else.  When Leah MacKenzie, went out into the woods to search for bullets and put herself in danger, she did it to find answers—answers that Matt needed to find peace.  When both of these girls broke rules, or took something a little too far, it was always about helping someone else. 

I’ve been binge watching some shows lately and I noticed how I tend to even like the slightly roguish type of characters in series.  The main characters in the series, Justified and Longmire come to mind.  Both Walt Longmire and Raylan Givens broke rules left and right, but it was always about protecting someone else, getting justice, or righting a wrong.  I loved those guys.  Yes, they made my heart go flutter, and if they’d asked, I might have left my husband for them.  (Not really, but you know what I mean.)

However, I recently finished the series, Yellowstone. It was recommended by a lot of people who also enjoyed Justified and Longmire.  And I enjoyed the heck out of it, but as much as I love Kevin Costner, I wouldn’t have left hubby for John Dutton’s character. His flaws, some of his actions came across more to protect himself or his wealth, than it was for the people he loved.  Do you have lines that characters must not break for you to really fall in love with them?  Do you enjoy stories with the anti-hero? 

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