Elana Johnson, author of Possession, is here today with a great guest post. Thanks Elana!
Making the Bad Boy Good
Okay, so I read a lot of young adult novels. Probably close to 100 each year, give or take a few. I’m always a sucker for a good love triangle, and I like the bad boy as much as the next person. I will admit that sometimes I feel a little jaded with how all the males A) are extremely rich B) are extremely hot C) always has the perfect comeback and/or d) ride a motorcycle.
So when I sat down to write the guys in my novel, POSSESSION, I was determined to make my “bad boy” good. And my “good boy” complex. There are certain elements the readers expect when dealing with a male MC. Good looks is one of them, so I didn’t actually change B) in the list above. I also kept C) but I tried to create a female character in Violet that could hold her own in the comeback category.
I nixed the motorcycles, instead giving my character, Jag, his own two feet. That’s right, no motorcycle! Shocking, I know. He seems to get along just fine without it. His phone, however, is another matter…
I also put the kibosh on A). No way was Jag going to be totally rich. Somehow he still manages to get the girl. Go figure. *wink*
Instead, I replaced these things with new and different things—one of which was giving Jag a cause to fight for. A cause that Violet is drawn to as well, and therefore, she’s drawn to Jag also. She didn’t have a problem he needed to give her $5000 to solve. She didn’t need him to rescue her on his getaway motorbike. But he does provide solutions to her problems without money. And he does rescue her, just in a different way.
A good way. Because Jag—a bad boy—is actually good. I think the best way to create a bad boy that’s different is to give the readers what they want (see list A-D above), but with tweaks.
So Jag got: A) a passion for a cause, B) extreme good looks, C) the power of the spoken word, and/or D) the ability to rescue sans motorcycle.
He’s almost the good guy…