Positive vs Negative Characters: Who Will Rivet Your Readers More?

Positive vs Negative Characters: Who Will Rivet Your Readers More?
June 2, 2017 No Comments » For Authors, Writing Advice Melinda Harmon

When you write for real people, you need to make sure your story comes across as real. If your readers do not relate to your story or your characters, it becomes a fruitless exercise. Creating your characters might seem complicated, but humans are complicated so that is a good start. Write down every personality trait the character has. The more complex and mysterious, the better. Are you thinking about a good and positive character or a real bad one? It is important to understand that you are writing for the entertainment of others and your writing does not reflect your own personal standards and beliefs. What I’m basically saying is to let your mind run wild.

Now that we have determined that there are no limits as to what you can write on, we can start breaking down our character options. If you ever get stuck somewhere in your writing process, do not be scared to paraphrase for free by using a rewording online tool. We all need some help from time to time. Back to our characters. Let’s have a look at the different personality traits of a positive character versus a negative character.


Positive Character Traits


Negative Character Traits


Obviously there are many more character traits that can place you in either the good or the bad box, but these give you a fairly good idea. When you are creating your own characters, there really are no right and wrong choice. However, you need to figure out what will most likely grab the attention of the reader and keep that attention until the end. You could write an amazing story that could be good with either characters, as long as it is entertaining and engaging the reader. Let’s break it down a little more and look at each option individually.

Positive Characters

The ultimate ‘good guy’ character is the one everyone falls in love with and cheer for. This character is usually good looking, has a great personality and always says the right thing. Everybody loves the hero in a good fiction story because of the perfection created by the writer. If the character is to have flaws, it is usually portrayed in a good way.

Negative Characters

It has become common for readers to root for the villain in a good story. There seems to be some science behind the theory that many of us connect more with the villain that we do with the hero. Why is that? Well, the right thing to do is to support the hero in the story, but we cannot control where our emotions go. Our brains may support one thing and our emotions something else. It is not to say that we would choose a bad person over a good person in real life. Sometimes the villain is just more interesting.

The in-between Character

You know the character that is bad, but shows signs of being good? This is one of the most adored characters in writing or television. The idea is to create a character that is considered a villain, but at some point in your story, does something surprising that confuses the reader. Your character will become like a puzzle the reader is trying to put together. By making the negative traits the main focus, with just a hint of positivity, is where the magic lies. If you are struggling to create this character, maybe try a paraphrasing tool free online. These tools are great help when you are stuck.


As you can see, there is no perfect choice. It all depends on what you want your writing to communicate and on which level you want the readers to connect with the character. It is also advisable that you determine beforehand who your audience will be. If you know who you are writing for, you will have a better understanding of what is required. Keeping your readers engaged in your story is a great way for you to grow as a writer. Word of mouth is after all still a powerful marketing tool.

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Read books by your favorite authors and see how they present their characters. Which tricks do they use to gently and almost effortlessly present their characters to you? Great writers do not have to spell it out and tell you if a character is good or bad. Simply by following the story, you will discover each one’s personality traits. Pay attention to the characters you connect the best with and try and use that information in your own writing. What did you like about the character? At which point did you realize who your favorite character was? Determine that and you will soon have many readers connecting you the characters you create.

Melinda Harmon Melinda Harmon is a content manager and an amateur writer. She specializes on writing useful posts about writing, writing tools, and how to improve writing skills. Melinda dreams of publishing her own book and helping people know more about writing.

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