Everyone has a dark side; without it we wouldn't be human. No one is good all the time and our characters shouldn't be either.
Old-time melodramas were written with the purer than pure heroine, the wickeder than wicked villain and the braver than brave hero. Audiences loved them because they knew from the beginning that all would end well. It was good fun for Ma and Pa Pioneer and their gaggle of children to attend a performance with such easily defined characters and afforded a relaxing break from the harsh rigors of pioneer life. But ultimately, wouldn't it have been a little boring?
I love books (or plays or movies) that portray people as far more complicated creatures. The sweetest girl in the world is capable of being jealous. The most loathsome villain might spoil his cat. All of us experience a range of emotions.
When I write I try to keep in mind that every character has a flaw. Maybe it's vanity, or a tendency to over-indulge at the table; it might be a too-active imagination; it could be as potentially disastrous as jealousy, voracious ambition or money-lust. A pretty face does not necesarily mean a pretty personality any more than an ugly face denotes a villain.
Every story must have an ending but I enjoy writing (and reading) endings that are logical, but surprising. I love to sympathize with all the characters, not just the ones on the side of the angels. The dark side of characters is the home to all their complexities and their closely-held secrets. It's the hidden center of the chocolate and worthy of exploration.
I love my characters all the more because they are flawed. Bless them, they can't help being the way they are, they're only human! How about you? Do you write characters with a few bumps?
*Thanks to my daughter, Patricia, for the title. This is a favorite saying among her friends at school.