Ultimately when reading we are left alone a lot with the lead character, so it is imperative that the lead character be someone we want to hang out with.
Literally, that's what I wanted to say. Make your lead character someone you want to hang out with. That doesn't mean he/she's a "nice guy." It means they are interesting. It means they are beyond interesting; they are fascinating.
Think to A Confederacy of Dunces. For those of you who've read it Ignatius is a character you won't soon forget. But why? Is he someone you would like to hang out with? Perhaps not one-on-one, but you would certainly like to be around when he's acting up, because something awful is going to happen and it will be hilarious.
I was stuck in some small airport - Sanford I think, but that isn't important - it was early in the morning, something like 5 a.m., and I was in line at the only place open which sold coffee, standing behind a man from Chicago. It must have been his first time outside of Chicago, because he couldn't understand why there wasn't a fully-operating airport waiting at 5 a.m. in Sanford for the twelve or so people standing in line at the solitary open coffee shop. Now, he wasn't fun to talk to, but as he walked through the airport complaining loudly and gesticulating madly he was a lot of fun to watch. He left a trail of wrecked peace wherever he went. It was awesome.
So, let's not forget to make our lead characters someone we want to watch. Whether they're a train wreck or a soothing comfort, the reader is going to have to spend a lot of time with them. Be nice to your reader, and make it easy.
You need to be logged in to comment