As much as I’d love to say “throw them all out and have some more rounded characters”, I have to admit that bad boys have an appeal with readers that we just can’t ignore. Some people like mystery! And most bad boys, at the very least, pretend to be mysterious. They’re tough and broody, which intrigues so many of the young fangirls out there. They’re also really easy to write! I mean, you barely need to think about their character. The trope does all the work for you!
But that doesn’t mean you should let the trope do all the work. You see, most bad boys are lazy characters. They’re thrown together because the writer knows they’ll do well whether they’re developed or not. And many fans will come flocking, ready to defend the bad boy and his actions to the ends of the earth. But you don’t need to be like that! Bad boys may give you easy reads, but you don’t need to make them simple, 2D characters! One of the biggest problems with bad boys is how they’re handled. They don’t often grow or change. No one calls them out for their actions. Worst of all, they give the main character (MC) so much emotional abuse that goes unchecked. Not the nicest thing to promote in the world. So we should challenge it!
But how can we start doing that? Well, stick around and I’ll show you how to turn your bland boys into complex characters.
Side note: I’ll be using “him” to talk about the bad boy and “her” to talk about the MC just to keep things simple. However, this could be swapped. There can also be a bad boy/girl and nonbinary people in LGBTQ stories.