Hello all, after reading some tips on content and plot lines I decided to give me own thoughts as well.
Gang Stories, Basically Any Story About a Hero that’s not So Heroic
I’ve stumbled across some truly disturbing stories that clearly glorify gang activity and violence. Like really overdone with it. However, this topic doesn’t have to be completely off limits. There are plenty of great TV shows and even characters that have less than spotless records that have either changed or have enough redeeming qualities to make them likable. I’m thinking Thomas Shelby from Peaky Blinders or Christopher Chance from Human Target, or the Evil Queen from Once Upon A Time. (Actually almost any villain from that show). Sometimes a flawed hero or a secondary character that creates flaws in the main character makes for interesting reading and remind us that not everyone, even heroes are perfect.
Stories will sullied characters also can be used in historical context as well. Think Les Miserables. Jean Val Jean technically was a “thief” because he stole a loaf of bread to feed his family. Not to spoil my story, but for readers who think that my story “Cuts Like a Blade” is headed in the direction of a glorified gang story, there is more than meets the eye. Cuts Like a Blade is set in Victorian England when poverty was high throughout the country. Certain characters will be discovered to be victims of circumstance and forced into a life of thievery in order to stay alive.
I hope this article has been helpful. As long as you keep your story in perspective, give good reasons for your character choosing to participate in such a life, or keep it in line with historical context, and remember that younger readers are present and maybe keeping the seriously dark stuff for your next New York Times best seller or TV choice award-winning TV show, you can write a good compelling story featuring a loveable and redeemable character, who may happen to have a rap sheet included with their selfless humanity or intense vulnerability.