Your main character is the one your story centres around. This is the character you want your reader to care about. They are the axis on which your story spins. You may have more than one main character and the one who drives the story forward would be considered the protagonist. So, how do we create an engaging main character?
A main character doesn’t necessarily have to be a good person
They do need to be relatable
They must be pivotal to the progression of the plot
Make it clear from the get-go what it is they want, or are trying to achieve
They need to interact with and be involved with or impacted in some way by the supporting characters
They must be personally affected by the main conflict or inciting event in the story
Give them a back story. Who are they? Where did they come from? What has shaped them?
Giving them a back story will help the reader to understand why they may react a certain way in different situations. For example, a person who has experienced being brutally attacked in a dark alley, may have a grave fear of going outside alone
Show their internal thoughts. This helps the reader get to know them on a more intimate level
Make them relatable by giving them flaws. No body is perfect after all, but be careful not to give them too many, or they may come across as unlikable
If they are flawed, they have room to grow, and this is what your reader wants to see. Did they become more compassionate, more understanding, a better listener, a better friend, a better partner etc
Create an emotional connection for the reader by letting them know how the character feels
Create obstacles and barriers for them to show your reader what they are made of
Get your reader in their corner, cheering them on to succeed
Give a physical description of the character
Give them a distinct voice and personality traits
These are just a few tips. Happy Writing !