Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Bea-ing Wicked

Most of what I write is intended for the women’s magazine market. Generally those stories are warm and uplifting. They are ‘nice’ stories, intended to make the reader feel better for having read them. Even the murder stories they publish are classified as ‘cosy crime’.

In contrast, I have recently written two short stories as competition entries. In each case I have chosen a wicked main character: one is a thief, the other a murderer. They both get their come-uppance in the end.

Getting the balance

Of course, people are not wholly good or entirely evil. We all have shades of good and bad. So as writers our challenge is to create characters who display that real life balance, whether the story be a wholesome tale or a crime thriller.  

The baddies should show some good traits - the gang boss who loves his mother. And even the sweetest character in the womag should demonstrate a failing or weakness - the loving grandmother who has no patience with other people’s children.

Any thoughts on writing realistic characters?


  1. I agree that we all have good and bad points and our characters should too. We have pasts too - a hint of back story to account for a character's behaviour can make them more believable.

    1. Good point, Patsy. Backstory can help fill in gaps a short story can't completely explain.

  2. We can make our characters go completely against the grain if we want to. That's the beauty of fiction. The back story would be really important to explain this. Glad your 'baddies' got what they deserved though.