Think about forbidden love. Usually that is mani-
fested through power. We are drawn to powerful nega-
tive Leads, especially if they have a little charm. We have
a part inside us that wonders what it would be like to
have such power.
All that said, here are the things you need to know
to get readers loving your Leads.
1. Great Leads have grit, wit, and it. Grit is guts. Cour-
age. Inner strength. A Lead needs it, or needs to develop
it over the course of the story.
Wit is mental acuity, usually laced with a little hu-
mor. A Lead needs wit to get through the thicket of the
many confrontations in the plot.
It is what they used to call “sex appeal.” It’s based on
inner energy. Clara Bow, the silent screen actress, was
dubbed the “It Girl” in the twenties. Onscreen, she gen-
erated an insouciance and self-possession that women
admired and men found irresistible. Your Lead needs to
have an inner something that would make anyone want to
know what makes her tick.
2. Character is revealed in crisis. We learn about Scar-
lett O’Hara when the Civil War breaks out. She is forced
to deal with hardships (challenging her selﬁ shness) and
has the strength to do so.
Michael Corleone starts on the road to becoming the
Godfather when his own father is almost killed.
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