• Martha J Allard

In Praise of Misunderstood Characters

I was having a conversation last week, or it could have been the last month-who remembers what even time is anymore, right? What were we talking about? I mean, of course, it was writing.

I was telling her the last line of my WIP is the main character telling the love of his life that they would never have to come back to the place they just escaped. But then the first line in the next book would be “Look, I know what I said, but…”

Worst Boyfriend Ever, I said.

And she said, No, that would be Trace.

I was immediately hurt for him. Not because she was wrong. But because she was right. Well, kind of.

Trace is one of the main characters in my very first novel, “Black Light.” He’s the lead singer of the band, beautiful, and sometimes, misunderstood. Mostly by the man who has loved Trace all his life. Asia plays bass and loves and fears Trace. For most of their lives, he misreads Trace’s intentions, for him, and life in general.

Asia sees Trace as cold and manipulative, willing to do what he has to for the fame he needs. Which could be true. But it’s not. Under it all, Trace loves Asia, fiercely, too much, in the end.

Asia misunderstands, and so, I think does the reader, through Asia’s point of view. It was one of the reasons I loved writing the book so much. In the beginning, I felt the same way Asia does, but then I realized that Trace was much more.

I love characters like that, the ones that make you dig beneath the layers to see who you are really dealing with. Trace started as cold, almost the bad guy of the story, but he refused that role. He had his reasons. I love a character that refuses, only to show you someone better, someone more.

What are some of your favorite misunderstood characters? If you'd like to read more about Trace and Asia, you can find "Black Light" here .


Ps, Loren, I wasn’t really hurt, but thanks for getting me thinking…..

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