Aren't all good attributes only the flip-side of something darker? Ambition is only a hair away from greedy, charm just a word away from manipulation, benevolence just a step from martyrdom, self-assurance a sneeze removed from assholery. Many strive for self-reliance and end up self-contained and lonely. Others look for an outlet for their love and affection and end up being used. Don't we always have to self-check to make sure the pendulum doesn't swing too far and we let our best characteristics turn into the thing that makes everyone run when they see us coming, or turns us into the person who's always taken advantage of? And, as writers, isn't it just plain old fun to push our characters into choppy, ugly waters before we let them redeem themselves or find the upside to being what they are?
Even when it's something a character can't help, a place or situation they've been born into and can't escape, there has to be a downside to being... well... them. There has to be. Otherwise, what's the point?
In my latest release, Jaguar in the Sun, the hero Xbal is a jaguar god. Wouldn't being one be just freakin' awesome? He can shift into jaguar form, do magic (including a particularly intense form of sex magic that takes eons to perfect) and is immortal. What could be better than that?
Ahhh... well, that last one is the bugbear. Immortality. In a world where very few other beings live forever like he does. Love, which he's experienced in the past, is something to be avoided when you know there's no doubt you'll outlive your mate...and have eternity to mourn him or her. As Queen sang, "Who wants to live forever, when love must die?" Xbal isn't against love, he just wants no part of it because it hurts too damn much. There's nothing he can do about the immortality, but he can control his heart.
Or so he thinks.
Have a great holiday everyone, and see you all in the New Year!