When good characters make bad choices

This post has been rattling around in my head for a while. A few people who have read Thief of Hope have commented that they didn’t like Sydney, the heroine, at first. It’s an interesting comment. Sydney may not be the most likable of characters at the beginning of the book. She’s a pickpocket, she’s been a prostitute, and she also dealt with drug addiction. And you find all of this out in the first chapter. My hope is that despite her faults, she’s compelling enough to draw the reader into the story and want to find out more. She does make some bad choices over the course of the book because it’s a struggle for her to become the person she wants to be. Under pressure, she sometimes falls back on bad habits. I think that’s part of life, though. People don’t change overnight. Sometimes it really is a struggle and, to be cliche, sometimes you take two steps forward and one step back.

I’ll admit, I like to read about characters who have a bit of a dark side. Rogues and scoundrels who are trying to make a change or do the right thing appeal to me. Life is not black and white. Shades of gray are much more interesting. It may not come as a surprise that my favorite character when I first saw Star Wars was Darth Vader. Man, he was cool. Maybe I knew subconsciously that there was still good in him. A character’s inner journey also appeals to me. I enjoy reading about characters who grow and change over the course of a book. Some of my pet peeves about books these days are when I’m reading about a character who doesn’t change, at least not enough for my liking (yes, I’m talking about you, Hunger Games trilogy).

Sydney certainly isn’t meant to be seen as a role model. But I think her character is realistic for someone who’s been in her situation. This novel is fiction and meant to take you into a fantasy world where you’ll be entertained for a short while, but one of the best compliments for me as an author would be for people to look at Sydney and be inspired by her desire to change to follow what she believes to be right.

About Cindy Young-Turner

Hippie chick who is still hoping to change the world someday. Author of the fantasy novel, Thief of Hope.
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2 Responses to When good characters make bad choices

  1. It’s characters like Sydney that stand the test of time. Though everyone’s entitled to their opinion, I believe a lot of people that are adverse to gritty, flawed, realistic characters feel that way because they have more in common with them than they realize, in turn, it makes them uncomfortable. That’s a special heroine right there, Cindy. Don’t let them get you down. Each one of mine and Mathair’s heroes/heroines are in some way evil, dirty, low down because all of us are like that. Cookie cutter leads have no flavor. Keep your head up and rock Sydney out!

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