[found on jodyhedlund.blogspot.com; by Jody Hedlund]
“How can we know if we’re crossing the line and making our main characters too unlikable?
We hear this writing mantra over and over: Add tension to every page, increase the conflict, and get our main characters (MCs) into trouble. In humble obedience to the rules of fiction, we try to heap mountains of problems upon our MCs.
We do this externally in the form of villains, trauma, or drama. And we do it internally in the form of emotional struggles, character weaknesses, or relationship problems. A story wouldn’t be a page-turner without the conflict to move it forward.
However, at the beginning when we’re trying to establish the problems and the need for character growth, we may tip the scales too far. Yes, our MCs need flaws, things they have to work through as the story progresses (aka character arc). But in the process of making our MCs imperfect, we can’t turn them into bitter, whiny, selfish, angry, mean, cold-hearted jerks.
I’ve learned that in making my MCs have real, everyday, human problems, I have to be careful not to shape them into the kind of people no one wants to hang around for 300 plus pages.”
For more writing tips from Jody Hedlund, click here.