Reading the line edit of my upcoming September book last night, I had a rare moment of sheer joy at discovering that I was really happy with something I’d written. I’m usually much more in the camp of “I suck at writing.”
But the thing I was happy about presents a problem for me that I’m not sure how to work out. It’s a character, actually. The hero’s brother in my next release, Made You Look, is the kind of character I love to write. He’s smart and funny, and he’s also bipolar. His life is difficult, he’s insecure, he’s marginally employed… Definitely not the usual romance novel hero material. He’s the kind of guy who only appears as a secondary character in romances.
He’s a great reminder for me that there’s a balance to be struck in creating genre heroes and heroines. Yes, they need to be admirable people, but they also need to have some serious flaws that make them human and relatable. I did manage to create two quite flawed main characters in the book as well, but the hero’s brother is the one who speaks to me most clearly. I’ll be interested to hear reader feedback about him when the book comes out.
So how do we writers best strike the balance between creating flawed characters while still making them heroic? How do you do it, or if you’re strictly a reader, who are some of your favorite flawed heroes and heroines, and why do they work for you?