In this week’s Story Works Round Table, Alida, Kathryn, and Robert talk about good characters doing bad things. When your protagonist makes more than a mistake, when she actually does something…well, bad. Bad enough to turn a reader against her. 










What do we mean by “do bad”? And when should you let your characters make these morally reprehensible decisions? We talk about how to use the emotional bank account, and the motivation of your character to keep readers from losing their sympathy for the protagonist. And what about those snapped moments? Or when your character is acting out of character? Ultimately we decide it’s a powerful tool, so use it wisely!

What we talked about:

What do we mean by bad? (1:12)

Where in the story should you let your character be bad? (2:56)

Do you need a redemption moment? (6:25)

What is their motivation? (11:35)

Establish the path to your character’s bad act. 12:20)

The difference between making mistakes versus doing bad things. (14:20)

Make it the character’s “only” choice! (16:30)

What about when they are acting out of character? (18:40)

What about a breakdown moment? (20:30)

Don’t forget the consequences! (21:25)

So, should our character do bad things? (23:42)




Things we mentioned:

Lord Foul’s Bane (Thomas Covenant) by Stephen R. Donaldson 
Galaxy Quest 

Have thoughts, questions, other examples? Join the conversation at the Story Works Writers Facebook group

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