I was recently asked to provide four tips for creating a strong central character for the web site Write On and thought they might be useful to some readers of this blog, so here they are:
Main characters need to take control. They should not give in under pressure and should take an active part in solving their own problems. They can have faults but they change and grow throughout the novel. They make mistakes and learn from it.
Main characters have a cardinal quality and a trait/s that holds them back. DI Andy Horton, the main character in my marine mystery crime series, is fearless in his search for justice. In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett is courageous. But Scarlett is selfish; Andy Horton hates conforming and so risks being alone, his greatest fear.
What has shaped them? What is their background, family, education and experiences? They should be people the reader can love, admire or find interesting, people whom the reader can sympathise with, because readers will not enjoy a novel if they do not care what happens to the hero or heroine
Where will your character be at the end of the journey? What will he have learnt? Has he changed? He will have a goal, dream or ambition. It can be mistaken at first and replaced by something more admirable as the story unfolds.