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How To Create An Engaging Main Character

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 !

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