About half of my stories involve ideas revolving around criminals, and almost all have a criminal character slipped in somewhere. They c...

    About half of my stories involve ideas revolving around criminals, and almost all have a criminal character slipped in somewhere. They could be antagonists, funny side characters, or even protagonists.

    Now, before you give me a weird look, let me give you an example of a story I'm brainstorming (so you get what I mean about casting criminals) and then I'll tell you why I like writing them.

The Safe-House.

Criminals from all over the city seek shelter behind its walls when their lives are in danger. The Criminal Guilds' laws demand that no murder take place in the Safe-House, a rule that most follow grudgingly--or die. When weapons expert Mercy falls out with her Guild and takes a job at the Safe-House, she never expects to wake up to multiple murders.

Everyone is a suspect; the sassy cook quick with poison, the mysterious Hood who changes faces every day...even Mercy's own boyfriend.

In the Safe-House, safety is just an empty promise.

This is Hood, if she/he (who knows?) was in modern times
    Back on topic, there are two reasons I love to write criminal characters.

They Have Depth

     I love to dig into criminals' backstories, and try to figure out why they started being criminals. Did they do it because they had no money and needed to provide for their families? Are they good at nothing else? Did something in their past turn them away from the 'traditional' job path or pressure them into doing crime? Or are they just malicious?

    Their personalities also intrigue me, as do most anti-heroes. There are more sides to them than what they do for money, and through writing I can explore those hidden sides.

After having difficulty finding good pictures to represent criminals, I'll just pop one down of Mercy, who smokes when she wants to look tough
They Challenge Me

    My personal morals don't exactly line up with criminals such as thieves and murderers. In fact, they're pretty much the complete opposite. 

    When I write from a criminal's perspective, I'm in their mind. Feeling what they're feeling. Seeing what they're seeing.

    Writing what I don't agree with makes me flex and feel out my own morals; put them to the test. Getting inside criminals' heads and understanding their thought processes challenges me to write them as believable characters. I also challenge what my characters believe. Some of them change their morals throughout the story, others don't.

    I think it's important to show both sides of a situation--black and white--and all the shades of grey between. From there characters, readers, and writers can settle on what they believe.

Do you find yourself drawn to morally grey or anti-hero characters? Have you ever written any? Also, let me know if you want me to do a Beautiful People on Safe-House!

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  1. I'm exactly the same! I think the motivations and thought processes of criminals is just so fascinating, not to mention the fact that I just love anti-heroes! It's also just nice to write as a character who is totally opposite to me too (I'm one of those people who even feels guilty about sneaking my own snacks into the cinema and stuff, so I'd definitely make a terrible criminal! :) ).
    And Safe-House sounds super intriguing! :)

    1. Thanks! :D Haha I would also be a horrible criminal because I'd feel guilty about everything. It's always fun to write someone the opposite of me because I can ask "what wouldn't I do in this situation?" Thanks so much for commenting Laura!

  2. First, Safe-House sounds super cool. I love the idea.
    As for anti-heroes or morally grey ones, I've always liked them in books, but I've never had the opportunity to write one yet.

    1. Thank you! That really means a lot to me. :) I also love reading about anti-heroes, and you should really try writing one! They're super fun to write. Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting, Rachel! XD

  3. *raises hand* ME. THIS IS 100% ME TOO. I always choose to write the villains, antiheroes or criminals. And no regrets hehe.😂 I love the complexity and the interestingness of being inside someone's head who's kind of damaged and also has some seriously warped thinking habits. What can I say? SO FUN. Ahem. (I swear I'm normal.) I also think balancing an anti-heroes good intentions vs their darker nature is so fun and also challenging. Somehow these kind of characters just always feel more real?! LOVE IT.

    1. You're right they're all so complex! It's super interesting to explore their brain, thoughts, and morals. Ah yes balancing that can be a tricky act, but it's probably realistic of a lot of people's struggles. Thanks so much for commenting, Cait! XD