We all know how important characters are to a story. However, I find that some writers are so intent on telling a story and weaving a complex plot that they tend to ignore their main characters. Although a twisting plot can be exciting and absorbing, without strong characters to ground the story, such a plot tends to fall flat. It’s incredibly important to have a good, strong main character to draw the reader into the story. The protagonist should create a connection between the reader and the novel, helping to make them feel connected and invested in the work. Think of the main character as a guide who takes the reader through the plot, helping them to understand exactly what is going on around them.
Of course, crafting a strong character is easier said than done. So how exactly do we go about writing character? First of all, make sure the character is realistic. Really get into their heads: know what they were like as children, their favorite food, even what they think about when they fall asleep at night. Of course, you don’t need to write about all of this, but have it in the back of your mind when you’re writing. If the character feels alive for you, it’s much easier to bring them to life for the reader.
Once you have a deep sense of who the main character is, it’s time to get them onto the page. But don’t just tell us what the character is like—involve the reader by using indirect characterization. For example, if your main character is angry, she could be clenching her fists or grinding her teeth. This gives the reader more of a sense of who the character is than simply stating “she was angry.” How the main character expresses her emotions or thoughts is what makes her unique.