Have you ever read a book in which every character is more intriguing than the main one?
I’ve read a few books like that this year, and I have to say, it drives me crazy. These lukewarm MCs are almost always female, and they seem to have a tendency to really fade into the background of their story. Their best friend is super cool and off-the-wall. Their love interest is dark and mysterious. Their parents are quirky. Their enemy is cruel and oh-so-fun to hate.
But the MC herself? Bland as a beige sweater.
So, how do we keep our MCs from looking lame alongside their more interesting counterparts? How do we turn these uncertain, insecure girls into role models? Women we want to be?
In The Clearing, I found myself facing this exact issue with my MC, Natalie. She’s been through a lot, and is understandably a bit off-kilter at the beginning of the story. But, as the plot develops, something happens to her: a side of her comes out that she never knew existed. A side that likes to confront people when they’re jerks. A side that likes to subtly torment her awful roommate. A side that’s willing to put everything on the line to solve a mystery that consumes her every thought.
Does she become obnoxious? No, not at all. But she grows stronger as the story moves forward. She grows as a person. She learns a lot about herself. She does things she never believed she could do.
For me, I think this is the difference between a female MC that bores me and one I can’t stop thinking about. Are they all pitiful emotion all the time, or is there a little bit of an edge there? How does she change as a character? How does she affect others around her? These are the questions I think are so important to ask as we develop our MCs.
What do you think? Is there a certain female MC that totally rocked your world? Or one that left you feeling like you could have done without her? What do you think it was that made you feel either way?