It's a big short word when condensed. Literally one of the main aspects of a novel. The driver of your story, the illustrator of your plot. A main character is a nucleus...A sun...
Everything that followes; plot, minor characters, setting revolves around that MC. That guy/girl is the attraction of the reader. They have to be well liked and well developed in order for the reader to want to know them They have to be cared for and they have to be exciting. So how do you know if your main character is exciting enough to read about? How do you compell an interesting person that lives with you will you read the novel?
To create a compelling MC
1. First and foremost create a sketch and get to know who they are. What does he/she like? What makes her/him angry? Are they neurotic? Are they stubborn?
2. Flaws. Everyone says that your character has to be flawed, not to be a Mary Sue or a Gary Sue. But when he/she is too flawed which everyone begins doing now that we are all trying to avoid having a Mary Sure character, THAT becomes cliché. Focus on your characters having their good and bad sides. But not too much of either. Think of yourself. I have flaws. I have my good sides. I am perfect in some things that involve creativity and athletics. I am also great at academics, but I have my flaws and so does everyone.
3. Think about this...Perfect is perfect in the eyes of the beholder. Just like beauty. For example; in the eyes of an evil king, imagine a perfect kingdom. To him it will be perfect, to others not. Thus there is no perfect that will be perfect to everyone and that makes me wander off to the topic of writing...The best writing will not be the best in everyone’s eyes.
4. Show their sympathy, their soft spots, their emotional core. We need to see what they lost, what plot surrounds them and how they will evolve through it. Bare them.
5. Last but not least, surround them with a very interesting situation. That is when I (reader) will really want to know what will happen to this interesting person in this interesting situation.
Test your current MC
So you have a main character? Most of us do, right? So ask yourself these questions and see if they can be improved.
1. The name of your MC, is it in sync with the story? For example if you are in future time, or in past times, does it work?
2. Does your character tend to whine about life allot?
3. Is your character so strong and swift that they never really get hurt much?
4. Does your character always get their way?
5. Does your character "change" at all throughout the course of your novel? When writing a novel it is very important to stick to your characters persona.
6. What is the PROBLEM your main character is facing?
7. What are their main traits?
8. Do they have fears?
9. How is the problem going to change your MC?
10. Do you connect with your MC when you write? Does it feel like you are writing about live flesh?
These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself, and your character. The main important thing is to keep on track and when creating a main character birth a person. Not someone that you thought was cool, but a real person that you will lead through the hardship of your story. Feel free to share your experience and how you create a compelling character. Whether you get inspiration from other people, or other stories.
P.S. Another great activity to help with Main Characters is analyzing MCs from your favourite novels.