How To Make Your Main Character More Interesting

Us writers are a peculiar bunch though inside we are all pretty similar. We all secretly grow to love our characters more than we love our children, have all experienced sleepless nights whilst desperately trying to figure out our new plot twists and we’ve all been there, that dreaded moment when we realise that actually, our main character isn't that interesting. 
It’s a defining moment in your writing journey, one where you can either crash and burn in the blaze that is your seemingly failed book or rise from its ashes like a phoenix. 
In this post I hope to give you some gentle guidance on how to make your main character more interesting. 

Get to know your character

If you don’t know your main character, how do you expect your readers to? 
If you want to make your main character interesting, find out what’s interesting about them. Take some time out from writing and work on the creation of your characters. I recommend writing a backstory, this post by Alice Jones has some great tips on character depth and creating back stories, click here
Your backstory doesn’t have to be anything amazing, a simple timeline or bullet points will do and remember that once you know them you own them and you’ll be ready for whatever your character throws at you during your writing process. 

Know your secondary characters

You don’t have to go to the extent of writing a backstory for these characters but make sure you know their reason for being in your novel, if you’re struggling to find one they’re not needed. 
A problem a lot of us writers face is we have the tendency in the first draft to make some secondary characters more interesting that our main character. This is a big no-no. If one of your secondary character is stealing spotlight, either rethink who your main character is or tone it down a notch. 


Everyone has flaws so why doesn’t your main character?

What’s more interesting? The popular cheerleader who lands the most incredible moves every time and always gets the guy or the lonely outcast who has never even done a roly-poly for a reason down to the writer joins the cheerleading squad, lands the most incredible move when all odds were against them and eventually gets the guy who in all other circumstances would have been out of their league. It’s a story as old as time, lonely outcast turn prom queen but it works. 
Giving your characters flaws is a sure fire way to make your characters more interesting. Tying in with the next section: Your readers aren’t perfect so neither should your main character be, making your main character relatable to your readers is so important. 


Make your main character relatable

If your readers can’t relate to your characters then why would they invest their time in your book? 
Get to know your target audience and make your main character as relatable as you can. 
If your book is aimed at teenage boys who love science and hate football but your main character is forty year old woman who hates science and loves football then something somewhere has went seriously wrong, do you see where I’m coming from?
Reliability is so important. Readers like to see themselves in your characters so don’t let them down. 

Conflict

Conflict is a writer’s best friend. No question about it. Conflict provides the possibility of page turning plot twists and edge of your seat reading if written correctly, Arrr a writer’s dream. So, what does conflict bring to your main character? Writing your main character into conflicting situations naturally makes them more interesting. If written correctly your readers will be desperate to know how they not only react in those situations but will be rooting for certain outcomes, it’s up to you as the writer to give in to those outcomes or show a little of your evil side (which all of us writers have) and do the complete opposite. 
Another way to create conflict is to give your protagonist an antagonist. 
It’s pretty much book law that in every story there has to be an antagonist as well as a protagonist but keep in mind that the antagonist doesn’t necessarily have to be human. In Susan Lewis’s The Choice the antagonist was her baby's illness. 
We will be publishing a post very soon on the different types of antagonists and how to create the perfect one so follow this blog to make sure you don’t miss it. 

To summerise: 

Your main character is the driving force of your novel so invest as much of your time into their creation and getting to know them as you can. Make sure they aren’t flawless and are relatable to your target audience. Remember, conflict is a writer’s best friend so take some time out to think of all the things that can go wrong for your character, choose the best ones and voila! You’ve got yourself a page turner. 

I really hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any tips for making your main character more interesting please let us know in the comments below! 

Happy writing guys. 


J A Shaw

1 comment:

We would love to hear from you!