MCs need to be well rounded, faulty, exceptional for better or worse…just like us. Remember:
1-MCs are not perfect! They make mistakes, have thoughts they shouldn’t, and make mistakes. Did I say they make mistakes?
2-MCs are not dumb. Just like you and me, when they make a mistake they think it’s their best option. The reader should think so too.
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 characters gorgeous in a stereotypical way. It’s harder to relate to characters who look perfect, since most of us don’t (at least according to arguable TV standards). We all have a charm the way we are, so rather than promote this idea of the superhuman as the only lovable option, make your characters unique and have them shine the way they are. Support your readers! Rainbow Rowell (Carry On, Eleanor & Park etc…) does a terrific job with that, and I love her for it <3 I most definitely try to do the same in my books. Not only my characters are far from perfect, but I try to be as inclusive as possible (with an eye on the historical context, to keep it accurate…)
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 in a rut, wallowing over his/her 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. Don’t cringe. If you went through some serious ordeal, you know that humor is a reaction to pain, sometime the only way to survive. Most survivors develop a dark sense of humor. See for reference Jandy Nelson’s books (I’ll Give You the Sun and The Sky is Everywhere) or The Italian Saga.
7-Don’t have your MCs make the same mistakes over and over again! It becomes frustrating and boring.
8-Don’t create conflict through miscommunication. It gets old fast. Simple conflicts that could be resolved by a quick communication only get you that far.
9-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 want to describe to make sure your character is accurate, yet unique. Use your characters to break stereotypes (Maggie Stiefvater did a great job with that in The Dream Thieves). If you have no friends and no direct experience about whatever trait you want to talk about, guess what? You probably shouldn’t. Put t he pen down. It’s time to get out of the house and meet some really cool people.
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 characters who are unique, believable, and relatable. That sense of shame you feel when you write about your most recondite fears, it’s probably what makes your story unique and interesting.
Bibliophiles! Cover reveal teaser!
Title: Sex-O-S, the Tragicomic Adventure of an Italian Surviving the First Time
Genre: YA, contemporary, humorous, insightful. Some explicit scenes, consider yourselves warned!
Expected release date: November 6th, 2016 (audio, e-book -available also on Kindle unlimited!-, and paperback)
Themes: sex and dating, eating disorders, teen pregnancy, friendship, Italy and Italian culture
End word count: 77,670
Synopsis: Italy, the mid 90s. Bookish, tomboy Leda is dating the bad boy of her dreams. Is it love? Is she ready for her first time? Steamy at times, always emotional, the narration is authentic and gripping, raw and unapologetic in denouncing the hypocrisy of a society that would rather see pregnant teens than have an honest conversation about sex. Funny, moving, brutal, and sexy, this read is recommended to adults and teens alike. Breathtaking Northern Italy, including Padua, Liguria, and the incredible Island of Elba, adds to the charm of this addictive novel.
Check out books 1-3!