|One of my characters is ridiculously vain (to the point he considers himself horribly disfigured over some minor scars on his face and refuses to go out in public without a full-face mask). He also tends to be theatrical, selfish, obsessive, paranoid and a bit too much megalomaniac. He has many traits commonly found in villainous characters, but I don't intend him to be a villain. Any advice on writing him in a non-villainous manner? How can I make him a bit more heroic or at least neutral?|
Make him do good stuff.
Our alignment is not determined by our traits but by our actions.
Motivation is another key factor.
I’ve got two characters for you to look at. 1) Howl, from Howl’s Moving Castle (we’ll be using the Diana Wynne Jones novel, as Howl is less of a cowardly vain dweeb in the movie), and 2) Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist, the manga.
2) Roy Mustang, for your megalomania. The guy’s ambition is to move up as high as he can in the military. When people ask why, he gives them a stupid reason about wanting to change the female uniforms (kudos, btw, to the mangaka for having an nearly equal male/female military full of competent female badasses, who actually had the same uniform as the males). Later, we find out that Roy, while a total megalo, wants only to protect the people that work below him (which he always does to the best of his abilities) and seeks to move up as a benevolent leader so that he will have the power to take care of everyone.
Condensed advice: Good intent, good actions.