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The Main Character (MC) of a novel is the one single most important thing about your story. The truth is that if the reader can relate and empathize with your MC they will keep reading, they will want to know what happens next. So, how do you accomplish this feat?
Building the perfect-imperfect MC
MCs need to be well rounded, faulty, exceptional for better or worse…just like us.
1-MCs are not perfect! They make mistakes, have thoughts they shouldn’t and do things that should not be done
2-Don’t make it obvious your MC is making a mistake! MCs are not dumb. Just like you and me, when they make a mistake they think it’s their best option
3-Don’t change the feelings of your MC suddenly, just to drive the story forward. When you describe the emotional process within your MC you are really growing and cultivating feelings within the reader.
4-Be consistent with slang and linguistic affectations. Have you ever noticed how a friend of yours says “totally” all the time? Or “like”? Or “bazinga”? It does not matter what it is, what matters is that your linguistic weirdness does not permeate the speech of all of your characters. Different characters will have different affectations. Don’t overdo it!
5-Don’t make your MS gorgeous in a stereotypical way. It’s harder to relate to MCs who look perfect since most of us don’t, at least according to TV standards. We all can be charming the way we are, so rather than promote this idea of superhumans as the only lovable option, make your MC unique and have them shine the way they are! Support your readers!
6-Don’t make your MC whine all the time. Yes, as MCs they are bound to go through some really hard times, but like in real life, no one likes a whiner. We all have meltdowns and that is fine, but don’t let your MC stuck in time, wallowing over their grief. If you do because it is integral to your story (for example you might be writing about death, rape and such) add a touch of humor. Most survivors develop a dark sense of humor.
7-Don’t have your MCs make the same mistakes over and over again! It becomes annoying and boring. Make them learn!
8-Don’t create conflict all the time through miscommunication. It gets old too. Simple conflicts that could be resolved by talking about it only get you that far.
9-Promote diversity, but don’t have your MC be a stereotype! No one is a stereotype! A stereotype is at best the average of what the majority looks like. At worst is the racist interpretation of what you think someone is like, based on ignorance. If you want your MC to be a specific race, sexual orientation, religion, etc… make sure you do your research on yourself or someone else. Talk to friends who share the trait you are interested in to make sure your character is accurate yet unique. If you have no friends and no direct experience about whatever trait you want to talk about, guess what? You probably shouldn’t.
10-Love your MC with all of their faults. To write a great MC you have to come to accept that you are not perfect and that’s okay. Only if you manage to embrace the way you are you can come to describe MCs who are unique, believable and relatable.
I am a writer’s imaginary best friend, founder of #WritersUnite: this sentiment that we can help each other out since no one can write your book. I am also the author of the Italian Saga (#TIS): an irreverent series taking place in Italy and speaking of love, sadness, sex, and happiness with a healthy dose of humor <3 You can check out the books pretty much anywhere including Amazon and Smashwords ^_^