As writers (and readers) we know that a key element of any story is the characters. It's great to have an interesting concept for a book or an action-packed plot, but if your characters are one-dimensional why should the reader care about what happens to them?
What do I mean by one-dimensional characters? These are characters who lack inner conflict, do not have any personal problems that they can grow from, characters who do not exhibit any sympathetic qualities (i.e. he/she cares for someone other than themself) and characters that lack that je ne sais quoi--that something that transforms them from black and white print to actual living and breathing beings in the minds of your reader.
Many of us know that key character elements such as the ones mentioned are essential when it comes to a lead character, but what about the villain, that poor, misunderstood underdog that everyone loves to hate?
My heart goes out to the villain. Most times I find them more interesting than the protagonist. It's easy to understand the good guy, but what makes the bad guy tick?
The villain may have misguided beliefs that cause trouble, but have you ever tried to look at things from your villain's point of view? Is your villain as fully fleshed out as your main character? Does you villain display any sympathetic qualities at all?
Give your villain a chance. They may be completely flawed (then again, who isn't)? Even if they're really mean, nobody is all bad. Likewise, nobody is all good, so play around with your protagonist--showing flaws gives them an edge. I don't know about you but I'm not enticed to read a book all about a goody two-shoes who everyone likes.
Well, that's my shpeel for today. How is everyone doing with the A-Z Challenge so far?