We write our books in certain settings, worlds, cultures. They all impose restraints on our characters, which they have to live within, or break, and deal with the consequences.
Last winter, in a moment of frustrated “I don’t have any ideas!” I set out to write something, anything—something I could throw away later without caring.
I wrote a “Mirror Image” story, where my usual Good Guys were bad, and the Bad Guys were good. Yeah, I went Full On “Spock with a goatee.”
It was _really_ fun. My Hero, totally unrestrained. No brakes.
Mind you, being me, I wound up with explanations, and redefined “Bad Guy” in this context.
But I also learned—via my long suffering Beta Readers—that it was a great story.
At eight months remove, I can see that the reason they liked it was that my character threw off all restraints and went full bore to get what he wanted. What _he_ thought was right. _No_ Cultural restraints. To &^%$ with the law. _No_ diplomacy. Totally over the top, full on blood bath, and torture when nothing else worked.
Unpleasant in real life.
Essential in fiction.
Don’t let your characters be hemmed in by convention. Remove their shackles. Let ‘er rip and deal with the consequences later. Take it over the top. Just make sure that what your Character wants, most readers will agree with. And your readers should be positive that the “Other Guys” deserve what they’re about to receive.
And then show the absolute best/worst/bloodiest your Character can be. Throw his heart, his soul, and his body into it. Go to the max . . . then find even more, and get him over the top!
That’s what your readers want.
What character went full Evil Twin? Ra’d, of course! Let’s face it, he’s got the potential. Here’s how it happened in _one_ universe . . .