In my work, I don't think in terms of hero/villain. I don't present a main character who has a flaw to recognize and overcome. I also don't think in terms of good/bad, not really. I don't really think of protagonist/antagonist either, though certainly I have people acting in opposition to one another. What I have is sort of a sliding scale of moral and ethical failures. Just like real life. I think this keeps my stories from becoming melodrama or morality plays, where good is rewarded and evil is punished. In my stories, things happen between people because of who they are, not necessarily because of where they're situated relative to my personal moral compass. At least I try to do that.
I'll attempt to speak more concretely. Suppose I have two characters, Shelly and Davy. Shelly loves puppies. She adores them. She'll give up her own dinner so that a puppy can eat. Davy, on the other hand, despises puppies. He hates their loose skin and big eyes and waggly tails. Passionately.
It would be easy to set Shelly up as a good guy/hero figure and Davy as a bad guy/villain. But what I would want to do is to empathize with each of them in the same way, to show that each character's feelings about puppies are perfectly reasonable and valid responses to the world for those characters. I would allow myself, when writing about Davy, to think of puppies as unruly, vile and wriggly beasts that foul their beds and yap all night and disobey all commands or whatever. I would think of something I didn't like and map those feelings onto the fictional Davy's dislike of
For the record, I like puppies.
Anyway, I am approaching a couple of scenes in my work-in-progress where the characters to be examined hold personal beliefs that I find absolutely repugnant, but I owe it to them (and, not incidentally, to my readers) to not condemn or comment upon these sets of beliefs. I owe it to the truth I'm seeking as a writer to give full vent to whatever my characters feel, and to stay as much out of their way as I can. Real live intelligent educated people have ideas that I think are stupid and poorly thought out, but I have to present their fictional counterparts the way they see themselves, as intelligent educated people. I have to love them for what they are, unconditionally.
The title of this post is a joke for Rick Daley.