Bad guys you love to love? Or is it good guys that are bad that you love to love? All I know is there is a lot of ‘love’ in there. LOL. Seriously, a really good author can take a bad guy in the story and turn him/her into one of those characters you end up rooting for. How do they do that? Well, I’ll share a few things I do to make those characters pop off the page.
First, you need to make him truly bad, but with some type of redeemable quality. I’ve done this through many of my stories, but I’ll focus on Ren Lu in Capture of the Defiance. Ren Lu is an intelligent man who is a product of his upbringing. He is a man that has been programmed from an early age to do what others what or need done, but he isn’t a thoughtless man, he is a calculating one who picks and chooses his battles carefully. In the story, he works for the true baddie, a man with no redeemable qualities. A man that you don’t like, don’t want to like, and cheer for him to get what is coming to him for being such a horrible human being.
Ren Lu understands there is collateral damage in the world and that he must do certain things to accomplish a greater task. So, you might ask, what is his redeemable quality? The answer is Makayla. In the story, he becomes fascinated with her strength. He is curious. By making him curious, I’ve given him a fork in the road where he has to decide which he will continue. I’ve also made him human. This insight into a cold-blooded man now has a vulnerability that makes the reader curious as to why he is the way he is and can he overcome those influences and make the right decision when it comes down to it. The reader is now invested into his life and is silently rooting for the underdog inside him, the good, to break free of the darkness that holds him in its greedy fist.
Writing a bad guy that you fall in love with has to be handled with care. There are certain lines he can not cross and certain codes of ethics and morals that he has to have. If you look at any of the bad guys in the movies that you enjoy, you’ll understand exactly what I’m saying. Without a redeemable characteristic, a vulnerability that glitters on the fine crack in their veneer, the reader will never become emotionally invested with the character.
Ren Lu is a character that leaves me hungry for his story. I want him to find his HEA. I am rooting for him to win… but first, I need to know which path he is going to take on the fork in the road that I’ve given him.
Excerpt from Capture of the Defiance: Breaking Free Book 2 Copyright ©2016 by S.E. Smith
He immediately recognized her as well. She should be dead. He never missed his target. His gaze swept over her when she walked toward the dock. She was gesturing toward the bike and pointing to where she had fallen in the water. A minute later, both women disappeared from view when they climbed onto the sailboat.
Lowering the binoculars, he stared across the bay. He didn’t move when he heard the sound of footsteps approaching over the wind. He finally turned when the man who had approached cleared his throat.
“What is it?” Ren Lu asked in a deadly quiet tone.
“The information you requested has arrived,” the man stated.
Ren Lu turned away from the side. “There was a woman with the old man. Find out who she is,” he ordered coldly. “And Mr. Arys, this time make sure I have all the information that I request.”
“Yes, sir,” Arys replied with a bow.
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