Posted by: nancycurteman | January 3, 2015

5 Ways Negative Traits Make Mystery Novel Characters More Interesting

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Everyone has both positive and negative personality traits. That’s part of what makes each personality unique and interesting. So why do many writers tend to paint their characters either perfect or beyond horrid? These characters are unrealistic and thus boring. Readers want characters with whom they can identify—characters who have both positive and negative sides to their personalities. It’s easy to depict protagonists who use their strengths to advantage. It’s more difficult to write about characters who find ways to use what might be a real challenge to an advantage. It’s fascinating for readers to see how a character’s negative traits affect his psyche and actions. Here are five negative traits that make mystery novel characters more interesting:

  • Nosiness. What better way to search out clues and culprits than nosing into everyone’s business. Sure nosiness is annoying, but it’s essential to good sleuthing.
  • Bossiness. Don’t we all hate the person who is always telling us what to do? However that take-command attitude would be advantageous in thwarting a home invasion, attempted carjacking or kidnapping.
  • Finickiness. Picky, picky. Why so particular? On the other hand, what an excellent character trait for a crime scene investigator!
  • Pigheadedness is irritating. However, a good sleuth should pursue the solution to a crime with the stubborn tenacity of a pit bull.
  • This kind of person questions every thing you do ad nauseam. But this is a great trait for detective because no clue or unusual behavior will go unnoticed.

Clearly writers need to give their mystery protagonists negative traits that can be used to their advantage. Important caveat: Be sure to write these traits into your characters everyday lives. Make the traits annoying to the other story people with whom they come in contact. Have your characters try to eliminate the annoying habits. Do this and you will have a sympathetic character your readers will love.

More Writing Tips:

Perfect Characters are Paper Characters
Developing Characters is No Mystery
5 Ways to Make Your Characters Tap Into the Emotions of Your Readers

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