We’d like to feel that even the most hardened criminals feel remorse for crimes committed. That they would look back at what they had done and think, for just a moment, that there were better options that they wish they had taken. Instead of killing/robbing/brutalizing their victims, they had walked away.
But is this true? Could it be that there are those among us who never regret a single thing that they have done? Such people are often classified as sociopaths.
This is the dilemma for every writer. All humans do things for which they have the potential to regret. It might be harsh words spoken to a family member in anger. Criticism handed out to a boss that ended in disciplinary action. Slipping a two dollar candy bar into a coat pocket. Forgetting to send a card in thanks for an act of kindness.
Some of us apologize immediately, while others of us internalize the problem and think it through, analyzing it from every angle.
Your task is to look at one of your characters and decide what type of person she is. She has done something that has caused pain, either emotionally or physically. How does she react? Is this just one of many such actions? Does she feel any qualms about what she has done, or not?
You have to decide.
Write a scene in which an offense against another is committed. It could be a slight, such as not inviting someone out to lunch, or it could be a criminal act. Once the act is completed, then have your character think about what he has done, and then react.
How your character handles the situation gives the reader insight into the character’s personality.
When you are finished, reread. Are you satisfied? Does the reaction fit the crime? If not, was this intentional on your part?
Good luck. Have fun with this one.