I’m not sure if this makes me a terrible person, but I find it fun to write mean people. Robbi in the Rory Choice series was my first, but I’ve written many since. They say whatever they want with no regard for the feelings of others. Their lack of a feelings-filter creates opportunities to have them say and do almost anything, which makes it creatively freeing for me. My ideas can get outlandishly cruel pretty quickly, so I lean on my beta readers when deciding when I’ve gone too far. If two or more of them come back with a “how could you” on their lips the first thing I look at is dialing back the mean—but not too much. Protagonists are only as good as their counterpart antagonists. So I say heap on the bad and see how much my protagonists can take. It makes the ending of my novels that much more satisfying when the protagonists finally wins.
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