WARNING: This is a no-edit zone…
When crafting a novel, writers spend a lot of time creating characters. We delve into their goals, motivations and conflicts. We determine their physical appearance, their emotional status and reactions to a variety of situations, and their spiritual chemistry. We weave their history and how it impacts their current perspective and orientations.
We draw these characters and compile all the traits that we see in human beings. And we manipulate them to best serve the story.
A great deal of time has been devoted to qualities and traits on heroes and heroines. Less, but a significant amount of study has been devoted to villains. The same holds true of secondary characters.
And yet we have heard far too little on the incredible strength that comes from heroes and villains who have character traits that make them both .
Imagine. A hero and villain who are equally matched on all fronts but on opposite sides of an issue, of a situation. What one wants, the other doesn’t with equal ferocity.
Now to that add logical, credible reasons and rationale that are equally compelling and equally universal. Both tug at our minds and hearts. Both hammer our sense of justice and fairness and both, though from different perspectives, are debated and right.
Now you’ve taken a compelling story and made it an irresistible one. Why?
Because there are relatable segments that the reader agrees with on some level on both sides.
So not only is “finding out what happens” a story question. It is also a revelation for the reader. In the resolution, s/he sees something of him or herself.
The reader is both challenged and entertained, and if the writer is lucky, and the reader is lucky, both have seen that presented with greater clarity.
And that is the added gift of crafting dueling characters.