"You take people, you put them on a journey,
you give them peril, you find out
who they really are. "
Here is where the Good, the Bad and the Ugly comes in to play. Even my darling hero/heroine has flaws. I shouldn't cover them up or sweep them under the rug. The flaws are what humanize characters. I have learned to embrace their imperfections, and allow my character to
G R O W.
And it was important that she remain that way throughout the story. As an author one can become so intimately involved with our characters, it's sometimes hard to watch them get kicked around. But it's important that they don't always win at everything ... because hey, that's life.
So I had to fight my instinct to protect Kate. I had to let her fail a time or two. But in the end it makes for a stronger character and a better story. It's up to my reader to discover the character for themselves. And in that discovery, they will either fall in love ... or they won't. That is the beauty of reading. For how do you know that the ending is fitting...if you haven't been on the entire journey, page by page?
Likewise, I let my reader follow a trail of breadcrumbs that allow them to take a small peek into the mind of my hero's nemesis. Even if the antagonist's logic is flawed, in their little world they have a reason for their behavior. The evil villain in a cartoon, is just that...a cartoon. REAL people have many layers.
In my current novel, The Bootlegger's Wife,
there are plenty of flaws and weaknesses to go around. But hopefully the characters are lovable in spite of them...or perhaps... BECAUSE of them.