Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mean Quality

During some down time after a chem quiz, I started drafting dialogue for a scene in my WIP. I later passed the notebook to my friend and asked, "Does this conversation flow well? It seems a bit rushed."

My friend read it, said, "I think it flows fine, but...this character sounds really mean. You might want to change the wording or something."

I took the notebook back and reread the conversation. As I did I realized that, meanwise, I didn't see anything I felt like changing. Yes, an important character the main character is supposed to be very, very fond of sounded mean, but I wanted it to sound that way--mean.

So my response to my friend was, "He's supposed to mean. Because, well, he's a jerk."

"So why does the main character like him?" my friend asked.

I told her hopefully it would be more clear in the story. Because, while I don't think characters should take other characters being jerks lying down, I recognize that real people have both good and bad sides. And good people might just let their bad/mean sides show. Like...say...Snape, anyone? (Yes, I chose to play the Harry Potter Trump Card.) But what do you think? Outside the writing prowess of J.K. Rowling, can a mean character be a good character?


PS-- This weekend I announced the release of my next book!