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Okay, today’s post is in two parts. The first is a sort of drabble series. The second is a character study and some answers for a rather-important question.

Okay, here we go!


I

                Why would anyone love me?

I’m a monster without morals, a beast without feeling. If I slip up, I could end up destroying everyone and everything around me.

I always end up destroying everything I love.

I was a scientist, a “successful” one. All that was taken from me. Now I wonder… did that matter? Did the accident maybe push me into doing something better?

It doesn’t matter. I’m still a monster.

Why would anyone love me?

II

                Why would anyone love me?

I’m a success that still failed. I’m a martyr who didn’t actually die. Why would anyone care about me?

I’m the soldier who lost his cause, the one-off science experiment that caused people to keep on trying even though it ended up destroying them.

The only thing that ever made me special, and I don’t even know who to trust enough to show it to any more.

I never sold my sword, but I’m still fighting for a cause I’m not sure I believe in. I’m the misfit who found my place, and then lost it again. I don’t belong here. No one cares about the man behind the superhero. To them, I’m only a name.

Why would anyone love me?

III

                Why would anyone love me?

I’m purely not lovable. I have no heart. I would stab anyone in the back in a heartbeat if it meant saving my own skin or finishing a mission.

I’m a weapon, and you can’t love a weapon. All you can love is the feel of it between your hands as you use it to slay your enemies. Anyone you name your enemy, really. All you can love about a weapon is results.

All your love for a weapon is mere sentiment. You can cast a weapon aside, and sooner or later, you will.

I’ve got red in my ledger, demons in my locker. I’ve killed before, and I know I will begin. My hands are stained, and I know I’ll stain them again.

Why would anyone love me?

IV

                Why would anyone love me?

I’m obnoxious, self-possessed, and am obviously—obviously—don’t correct me, Rogers, respect your elders—though that sounded weird—not a team player. I don’t talk about my feelings, except when I do, and then it’s always shallow. I’m selfish.

I’m not a hero. Or at least, I wish I wasn’t one. Being one of the good guys is stupid, sometimes, because you don’t go all the way you can or will or should. You don’t get that same satisfaction as you do before you’re “reformed.” It’s always a temptation.

I’m selfish. I have baggage. I’m annoying.

Why would anyone love me?

V

                Why would anyone love me?

I killed. I reshaped history—in the service of the wrong guys. I betrayed my best friend, and even if he insists that it’s not on me, it still is. I made him bleed. How is that forgivable?

I’m a sniper. I kill from a distance, when I can. I’m an assassin. I’m despicable by nature. I’m a coward. I don’t have half the heart that my best friend does, and I never did.

I’m jealous of him, sometimes.

Why would anyone love me?

VI

                Why would anyone love me?

I’m a veteran, part of something that never made it to the next level. I don’t exactly have a place. Once you’re a part of something, it changes you, and you’re never the same.

I look at people’s heads. I try to help them. But how can I help them when I’m still sick myself?

Some people just… inspire loyalty. And then, more amazingly still, they don’t misuse it. That’s not me. I’m just a lowly soldier, not some superhuman. I’m just one man, nothing more.

Why would anyone love me?

VII

                Why would anyone love me?

I’m a traitor. I helped the enemy.

I shot at allies. At friends. Without hesitation.

Even before that, I was a smart aleck with a bad past, a mere punk with nothing to prove and everything to prove it on.

Why should anyone like me, let alone love me? I’m broken. I’ve had all of me pulled out and something else stuffed in. And then had some sense knocked back into me, but for what?

Why would anyone love me?

VIII

                Why would anyone love me?

I nearly started not one, but two, wars, before I learned humility. I had to have everything taken from me before I understood what a gift I had been given freely.

My parents lied to me. My brother betrayed me. And I—I let him down. He slipped into the void. And then, not long after, I failed him again.

Why would anyone love me?

IX

                Why would anyone love me?

I became the monster I had always feared and hated. I knew what was happening, but I didn’t stop it. I forgot humility and compassion. I craved power and revenge.

I expected people with flaws to be perfect and looked for flaws where there were none.

And then, I played people as if they were pawns on a chess board. I let them fight against each other, I let them harm each other, I let them bleed, I let them die… just to prove that I could.

I have only proved what a monster I could be.

I hate myself.

Why would anyone love me?

And yet… there is love still.

FIN

(The Avengers+Falcon+Winter Soldier+Loki. Anyone care to guess which one is which? There should be enough clues. 😉 )


Characters must be relatable. They must be lovable. It’s a dichotomy, because on some level, that which is lovable is hard to relate to, while that which is relatable also tends to be despicable.

To be lovable, the character must have some good traits that make us root for him or her. To be relatable, the character must also have flaws. (A character without flaws? Not fun to read. Also known as a Mary Sue/Marty Stu/Gary Stu. Look, there’s sexism right there! The guys have two names while the girls only have one! Or does that mean that male Mary Sues are a lot worse than female ones? Bwahahaha.)

Sometimes this is as easy as having the character be a good person (or want to be,) but still be fighting something that wants them not to be.

Sometimes, it’s not that simple.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

Sir Percy Blakeney is a brilliant man. He’s able to routinely outwit one of the most diabolically clever men in Europe. But he matches that with a tendency not to trust people and neglects to tell his wife about his secret identity, nearly getting them both killed.

Horatio Hornblower is a consistent victim of self-hate. He knows his flaws very well; he struggles with them daily. He doesn’t understand why people follow him (the reasons, objectively, are: he’s a good leader and loyal to his men, and he leads from the front, besides he has a sort of charisma that is both baffling, and draws people in at the same time), but he tries to do his best as a leader. He’s terrified, though, that one day he’ll fail as a captain, get his men killed through a miscalculation, or even betray their trust.

Martin the Warrior is a natural leader. However, he sometimes looses it in the midst of battle and goes berserk, leading to people on his own side not being covered properly and dying (spoilers would be the case in point.)

Tony Stark… do I even need to start with him? He’s as off-putting to people as Steve Rogers draws them in. He can be rude, obnoxious, etc. But he cares about Pepper (actually, this is my OTP… sort of?), and he tries to be a hero. Redemption value? I think so.

Steve Rogers–some people hate him because he’s supposedly the definition of all things perfect. This is a complete and total misconception. Dr. Erskine said it all: “Not a perfect soldier, but a good man.” He’s good at heart, but still flawed. Oh, yes, he does have demons. He’s failed people before and knows he will again. He messes up and people die, and he doesn’t let anyone “console” him, for a good reason. He sometimes pushes people away. He isn’t fearless; indeed, I think it’s a safe bet to say that he was terrified to die alone. He has lost everything in a very tangible sense and yet he still goes on, forming new friendships, even though he knows he could lose it all all over again. People follow him because he means what he says and cares about his team, and he’s terrified that one day he won’t live up to their expectations. Since when is good boring?! Good is awesome. Bad things happen to good people and what they do with that makes an incredible story–do they turn bad, or do they try to pick up the pieces and move forward? This is the good stuff. Seriously, who needs antiheroes?!

The thing is, the heroes sometimes have to deal with unpleasant truths. They pick the lesser of two evils and it keeps them up nights. They “compromise” when they could do otherwise and people suffer. Fundamentally good people in a flawed, sometimes cruel world, how they deal with it, how they don’t. That’s what it’s all about. The same is true of life. On some level, we’re all unlovable, yet there is Love still.

Hopefully this is helpful to all the writers out there. 😉

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

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