Someone once pointed out to me that too many of my characters are jerks. I was quickly on the defensive about that. I argued that I've only told them about the jerks because those guys are the most interesting! If someone sees a puppy in the street, arguably the "default" behavior would be to save it, so a guy that laughs as the puppy gets run over is more deserving of attention, right? Well, today I sat down and sorted my characters into three groups: jerk, neutral/fluctuating, and nice. (Obviously this was grossly simplified; I based it on character traits that stand out the most.) Here is a breakdown of my findings by character faction: Protagonists of current arc: 25% nice, 12.5% neutral, 62.5% jerks Antagonists of current arc: 0% nice, 25% neutral, 75% jerks Protagonists of arcs gone by: 100% nice, 0% neutral, 0% jerks Antagonists of arcs gone by: 0% nice, 20% neutral, 80% jerks Major characters of neutral standing: 66.6% nice, 33.3% neutral, 0% jerks Side characters of neutral standing: 50% nice, 25% neutral, 25% jerks Silly parody characters with their own self-contained story: 0% nice, 25% neutral, 75% jerks More grounded characters with their own self-contained story: 83.3% nice, 0% neutral, 16.6% jerks This is not what I was hoping for. Now, some of my favorite characters in any fandom are those that play against their type and trend more towards a moral gray area. But as you can see, I've only done that with the protagonists -- the current arc has WAY more jerks than the previous one, but the moral spread of antagonists hasn't really changed. This is a problem! I already know the reason behind this. I ended the referenced "arcs gone by" because the characters involved weren't interesting. And my attempts to make characters that were mostly churned out jerks. Now I don't have enough relatable characters! Tl;dr: Too many of the important characters are jerks. Not enough of the nice characters are important. Characters that are nice and important aren't interesting. Taking into account that I really don't like scrapping characters that have been around as long as some of these guys, the solution that I've come up with is to make some of the important jerks more relatable. I can already point out a few who have good intentions but act all self-superior for no good reason. But I feel like if I take that away from them, they'll lose their depth and become boring pancakes. Another possible solution is to take some of the interesting nice characters and make them more important by folding them into the main story. I already have a couple in mind, but I'm not sure if this would really fix anything. It's not like anyone changed; their goals just shifted around a little. I mean, maybe this nice character could help chill out the jerks a little bit, but that seems so forced... Of course, there's the caveat that when I say "interesting," I mean "interesting for me to write." It's entirely possible that the nice characters are interesting, but I'm inherently doomed because I find them boring to talk about and write for! owo' How can I fix this mess? Is there anything else I can do? Am I just reading way too much into things? YOU BE THE JUDGE.