The way to hook this reader is easy. Write a character who is always dressed to impress, has the wildest charm and self-confidence, flirts with everyone, says things the protagonist thinks but would never utter, and is willing to take the quickest route to get the job done–even if that means doing morally questionable things. Throw in impeccable manners and some sort of character quirk, like a fear of dust or old-fashioned speech, and I’m hooked.
In almost every movie, series, or book I’ve ever read, the Lovable Rogue is bound to be my favourite character–and that applies to my own writing too. Yes, I love my protagonist and other viewpoint characters, but the secondary cast’s Rogue is my darling.
What makes it even more interesting is the fact that I don’t mind if this character is a woman, but I hands-down prefer when it’s a guy. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea.
I’ve been wondering what it is about this character that grabs my attention and refuses to let it go. Especially since I never grow tired of them. This is what I’ve come up with.
The Lovable Rogue is funny
This character’s outrageous charm is usually tied to a quick wit, which means they say the funniest things. Plus, the lovable rogue’s inherent charm means they attract and collect other characters, and usually has an entourage of their own.
Their partner in crime is often a secondary character who has the same sharp wit, and the Rogue constantly bounces banter off of that character, or they have their own running jokes.
The third character usually grouped with the Rogue is gullible or innocent and doesn’t understand all the fine-tuned innuendos hidden in the Rogue’s words. The Rogue and the other witty character love making comments that pass over the innocent one’s head, and that equals even more running jokes.
My favourite part about this character is how they manage to put everyone in their place with a few well-picked words. Their sarcasm is legendary. They can kick arse too, but the tongue is the sharpest knife in their arsenal.
The Lovable Rogue is capable
Yes, they can come off as over-confident at times, but that’s because the Lovable Rogue is experienced. They’re also truly good at what they do. They’ve earned the right to strut around like an untouchable.
But the Rogue also realises their own weaknesses, which is another reason for their entourage. They know the value of diverse skills, and aren’t afraid of utilising other people’s special abilities.
Because so many hero tropes call for the protagonist to do things by themselves, the Rogue often has to show the protagonist there’s another way. You know, take the I out of team and teach our hero to rely on others for help. 🙂
The Lovable Rogue gets shit done
As I said in the opening paragraph, this character isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty to get the plot moving. They look at the world in a way of their own and are often pretty smart, so they see answers to the problem in a unique way.
Does the answer they see involve a little theft or murder, or maybe breaking the law in some other way? Probably. Does the protagonist approve? Probably not. Still, whatever the Rogue chooses to do, it means progress.
Regardless of their morally questionable choices, we keep rooting for the Rogue because they’re charming and funny, and their plans often come with a big payoff in the end.
I really enjoy reading about or watching morally grey characters, since they tend to be more real than perfect protagonists. This is also probably why I so love the Affably Evil trope. They’re bad, but still people, and fall nicely into the morally grey spectrum. In my opinion at least.
Do you agree? And what’s your favourite character trope? Let’s chat in the comments.