Ever read a book with a main character that you don't like no matter how hard you try?
Well, apparently I'm writing one. So, I've been studying up on how to make your main character likeable. A must if you want readers to relate and be drawn into the story. If a reader doesn't like your MC, they won't care about what happens to him/her, and consequently, they have no reason to finish your book.
So, here is a list of traits that make a character likeable as told to me by award winning author, Martine Leavitt:
1. Physical Attractiveness: Sounds biased I know, but hasn't the Edward craze proved it to be true?
2. Altruism: Think Charlotte in Charlotte's Web.
3. Plans, Purpose, and Dreams: Characters are more likeable if they have justifiable, purposeful goals. Then readers can cheer them on.
4. Courage and a Heightened Sense of Fair Play: This always makes me think of Harry Potter.
5. Attitude: I take this to include personality. No one wants to hang out with someone who is boring or constantly negative. Find the balance.
6. Cleverness: Like in the TV show House. He doesn't have a lot of social skills, but he is brilliant.
7. They Love and Are Loved: To be loved and to love is something that every person wants, so this makes a character especially likeable...dare I say loveable?
8. Are In Jeopardy: When things the character cares about are at stake: life, love, hopes and dreams...
Of course, no characters should have ALL of these traits. They must have flaws, but we need to have some kind of reason to like him/her. The trick is to balance your character's flaws and issues with only some of these traits.
Important note on attitude--Ms. Leavitt also gave us this great advice:
When the main character cares too much about his/her self (woe is me), the reader does not have to.
So there you have it. Go back to your creation and take that clay and mold it and bend it into a fully fledged, deep and meaningful character.