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Story Psych: The Draw of the Bad Boy

Despite criticism of the trope, the “bad boy” character remains immensely popular among readers and audiences. Whether he’s got a supernatural side that makes him potentially lethal, like True Blood’s Eric and Twilight’s Edward, or a callous side that could turn him into a heartbreaker, like Lost’s Sawyer and Gossip Girl’s Chuck, they catch other characters’ eyes and make fans swoon. (“Femmes fatales” likely serve the same function, for similar reasons, though they seem to be less common in stories these days.) The theory most often suggested is that we like the idea of a love interest we can change for the better. But wouldn’t it be easier to go for someone who doesn’t need changing in the first place, and who isn’t so likely to rip out our hearts (figuratively or literally)? Why is dangerous so much more appealing than safe? I think psychology may provide an answer.

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Originally published at Megan Crewe - another world, not quite ours. You can comment here or there.


My Books

Earth & Sky
(Earth & Sky #1, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2014

The Clouded Sky
(Earth & Sky #2, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

A Sky Unbroken
(Earth & Sky #3, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

The Way We Fall
(Fallen World #1, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2012

The Lives We Lost
(Fallen World #2, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2013

The Worlds We Make
(Fallen World #3, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2014

Those Who Lived: Fallen World Stories
(Fallen World #3.5, apocalyptic YA)
self pubbed, 2014

Give Up the Ghost
(paranormal YA)
Henry Holt, 2009

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