My writer friends and family know I have a soft spot for "bad boy" heroes in fiction. I've tried to analyze why and have had some interesting insights into myself, but recently I had a major breakthrough.

I'm watching a series which is out of my norm, but have found myself hooked by the storyline...and the "bad boy". One night while watching a scene between "good guy" hero and heroine, I became aware of this odd feeling in my chest. A discomfort.

And then I recognized what it was.


That's right. I prefer "bad boys" because I distrust Knights in Shining Armor. You know, the good boy heroes who live atop a shining steed, so high in fact that I know their fall is going to be a hard one.

What I like is that while a "bad boy" starts in one place (usually empty, lonely, and ugly), I know that by the end of the story, the "bad boy" is going to have redemption. He's going to be happy at the end, and healthier.

The only place a bad boy can go is up. A shiny knight? Down. Takes the hope right out of the story for me.

So yes, it's twisted and I would never recommend a "bad boy" in real life, but in fiction I truly do adore that redemptive, finds-peace arc. Not to mention the excitement and challenge of it all. :-)

Which fictional "bad boy" do you love? And if you prefer "good boy" heroes, who is your favorite? Ever wondered why?


I love bad boys! And I think for the same reasons. They have no other choice but to grow. And that growth makes them interesting. The good guys are almost boring. :)
Patti said…
I've never thought about it this way, but it totally makes sense. You want to see some growth in the character (for the better), and the only way a good guy can go is down. Plus there a little boring.
Melissa Jagears said…
I tend to write my heroes as good boys says my crit partner. I have to force myself to give them flaws, I think because I want to give the heroine a "prize" for all the life changing she has to do in the story! :)

And I totally wanted to marry a good boy, a preacher or missionary and um, I married a total reformed bad boy, he was so bad when I met him I actually asked my mother "do you think a guy could be this bad?" I still cringe sometimes when I say "Can you believe people actually do this?" and he gets a funny look on his face.
Jessica Nelson said…
hahahaaa! Melissa, that's very funny. :-) I'm glad your guy grew up! LOL

Patti and Sherrinda, it's horrible to say, but yes, they can be boring. Why is that? Shouldn't good be exciting? Maybe I'm equating good with less intensity? Hmmm. All food for thought. :-)
Connie Keller said…
I love the redemptive arcs too!
I think I land somewhere in the middle. In real life, people are rarely all good or all bad.

A too-perfect hero or heroine comes off as phoney to me. On the other hand, I'm not a fan of the bad boy hero.
Gabrielle Meyer said…
I think the reason why bad guys are so appealing is because we know, in our heart of hearts, that there is something good inside them and we love the challenge of finding it and bringing it to the surface. Who is really "bad," after all? Very few people, so there is hope! My husband has this theory that women love to chase men and they like the "bad guy" persona so whenever he has a high school or college kid working for him who wants to get a girl, but she isn't showing any interest, his advice to them is "ignore them completely." Not only does it allow for the girl to "chase" the guy, but it also sends off a "bad guy" image. I always give him a hard time when I hear him saying this (he grin, because sadly, this worked for him...) - and, it's worked for the four guys he's given the advice to. I've asked him what he'll tell our two year old twin boys when they're teenagers, because this mama is trying hard to raise "good" guys! :)
Karen Lange said…
I hadn't thought about it quite like this! You make a great point. Thanks for the food for thought!

Have a great weekend! :)
Diane Estrella said…
Love all the reasons you gave to love the bad boy. Yes and yes to them all. Hope you have a great weekend! :O)
V said…
AHAHAHAHA! Totally right on! I love a bad boy because I'm rooting for him to succeed. The good boy? Already perfect and...well...

Back to the bad boy! ;-)

Dare I take a guess and say that series is Vampire Diaries? Great good boy/bad boy brothers and a girl love triangle.

@Gabrielle: Your twins are going to be some heart-breakin' bad boys!! Well, not in practice but in 'theory.' ;-)
Linda Kage said…
You make a good point. Now I know why I like to read about bad boys so much!!
Unknown said…
Yes, yes! You pinpointed it exactly. In real life, the good guys are awesome. But in books, who wants to read about a guy who's just good all the time? I want to see someone rough around the edges to not only spice up the story, but so he can actually change throughout the story...make mistakes, but also really come into his own, step up to the plate, do something noble and then in the process, discover things about himself and about God. Awesome post! (Sorry I'm a couple days late with my comment.)
Jennifer Shirk said…
I love Sir Guy of Gisbourne in the BBC Robin Hood series. He was so wicked but he showed a soft heart toward Marion that you kept hoping would change him. *sigh*
Hi There, I just spent a little time reading through your posts, which I found entirely by mistake whilst researching one of my projects. Please continue to write more because it’s unusual that someone has something interesting to say about this. Will be waiting for more!

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