I have always found characters, real and fictional, to be tremendously fascinating. Their nuances, beliefs, movements, thoughts, emotions, all that make them the character they are. This interest has become heightened since my children have come along and have chosen favorite characters, playacting their lives and embracing the things they love most about them, bringing them literally to life. Everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Obi Wan Kenobi have been parts of the stories my children make up and enact, illuminating characters, and the importance of balance between good and bad within a story. For even my children know for maximum excitement there must be good and evil, and they equally embrace characters of both sides.
I find as I write the balance of good and evil, light and dark, is important with my characters as well. However, it is not always a matter of numbers alone. A character with a darkness so deep the other characters can not begin to fathom it, can carry a weight so heavy that it requires several characters on the good side to balance it out. The balance, however, is important, at least for me. There has to be an element of evil to create the event or events that strengthen the main characters and bring out the best in them. To me, the dark side of a character, or a plot, highlights that the choices characters make, and by extension we make, are what make us who we are, not the experience itself. All characters stand at a crossroads, a decision made which path they must take, some choose good and some evil, but the choice sets in motion the rest of the story, all facilitated by the balance between darkness and light, or good and evil, within the novel.
This balance, which I find shifts quite often, is also what creates the suspense in the story. As the weight moves fluidly from one side to another, so the story progresses, in a constant, flowing motion, enveloping the reader and taking them along with it. Without the balance a story may feel lopsided, or incomplete, leaving the reader seeking more and somewhat unsatisfied. I feel that myself when I am writing. If an imbalance occurs with what I have written in the day, I feel restless and unsatisfied until it has been remedied and balance restored. All of which is carried and portrayed through the eyes of the characters, making who they are and the balance between them more fascinating to me than ever.