I was considering the alternative title; When the Hero Wants to Be Bad, because right now I have a problem with one of my characters in the new book in progress; Beyond the Veil. Ordinarily, I’d let the character have their way – they know best – but him being bad causes me a problem.
The problem is the genre. Urban Fantasy, or Paranormal Romance to be precise. It’s that word – romance. This single word brings with it a whole array of expectations, a happy ending being one of them. If I let my character go to the dark side, there won’t be a happy ending – at least not in the way readers will be expecting.
So my dilemma is this.
Choice 1: The hero is not the squeaky clean guy we thought he was. In fact, he’s mischievous, cunning and a liar. Ouch.
Choice 2: He is the good guy – phew – for a minute there we were worried.
I know what I’d choose, but I like my stories dark. It’s the other 99.9% of my audience I’m concerned about.
I’m inclined to go with my gut feeling and let the story tell itself. To hell with the genre rules. But I’m wary of alienating half the readership…