Heroes / MC
Okay, time to get back to talking about characters! In part one I walked you through my process for building a character, today I’m going to talk about Main Characters, or MCs. These are usually your hero or heroine in the story. You can argue a villain can be an MC. For the sake of this article we’re going to ignore villains though, as they get their own section.
I usually create my character with the role they’ll play in my mind. So, if the character is an MC then I want to reflect that in some way. To me this means giving them some physical or personal attribute that makes them stand out. As I write erotic romance, I tend to make my MCs lookers. Tall, built, with panty melting looks for my “alpha” males. For their partners, and they are just as important, I usually give them a softer, more beautiful appearance.
Now, this isn’t the same formula I always use. For instance, in my upcoming anthology release, Rendezvous in the South Pacific: SuMMer Heat, the “bottom” in the relationship is the tough alpha looking one. And the “top” is the nerdy guy.
(If you don’t understand what I mean by bottom and top, this is the wrong blog for you.)
For the most part when creating an MC I’m concentrating on their personality. I want the character to be relatable, but also be his own person. The characters of course also have to work off each other well.
While considering this article though we’re going to focus on a sole MC. I’ll cover “Love Interests” in a separate article.
I’m going to use several characters from my books throughout this article, and there will be SPOILERS to some degree. So, if you feel like you can’t in good consciousness read this because you aren’t caught up … your loss.
We’ve already built our character, remember? We did that in Part One. Don’t remember that? Go HERE and get caught up.
We also already have a plot for this character… Nope? Not ringing any bells? Okay, HERE you go. Enjoy the murderous bunnies.
Now, you should be caught up? Right? Yay!
Your MC needs to either be someone already equipped to handle your plot, or he’s going to grow throughout the entirety of it. Two examples I’ve got are River Vann and Tony Santiago.
In Coyote’s River, the MC River grows during the story and learns what his shortcomings are. He also learns to accept others and open up.
In Abroad in the Stars, the MC Tony is already well equipped to handle what’s being thrown at him. He’s a strong, confident man that knows how to kick ass!
Each character also has their flaws and limitations. River? He’s a short tempered, immature young 20-ish man that never learned to deal with his past. He’s also money hungry. Tony? He’s arrogant and hides a secret from everyone.
Remember, perfect characters are BORING!! You do not want to make some omnipotent being that can do no wrong and always wins in the end. Your MC needs to have a vulnerability that can be exploited. I don’t care if that weakness is something pathetic like they’re afraid of clowns, give that guy a flaw!
MC flaws can both in their personality and in their appearance. It really depends on what you want to do with the character and how they’re talking to you as the author.
A physical flaw would be something like the scars crisscrossing River’s body, the results of a vicious attack. A personality flaw would be River’s emotional immaturity.
These things make your characters more human and lifelike to a reader. You can have the most amazing plot, but if your MC just glides through it it’s going to be a drag. Humans WANT to see the hard parts. Even in romance the angst and “will they, won’t they” is all part of what makes people crave it. If you don’t give your character something to overcome then you’ve failed as an author.
Now, you don’t want your MC to be nothing but flawed. That’s irritating. No one is just their flaws. Give them talents too. Goals. Dreams. Jobs. Friends!
River runs a café/bar and is a powerful warlock. His goal? Gather information about those that attacked him. River has one friend in life, his familiar Flute, though he dreams of having a life with his mate Coyote.
Tony is the navigator on a space pirate ship. He’s also a talented fighter and is one of the best on the ship. His goal? Monopolize his lover, First Mate Craig, and run from his past. Tony is friends with multiple people on the ship, though his closest friendship is with head mechanic Steven. They’ve bonded over their mutual obsession with military star ships. He’s already living his dream by being on the Galaxia.
These are details you need to reveal in your story in a natural way. Don’t just introduce your MC and be like who, when, how, why, what, where all at once. That’s irritating. Let the reader LEARN about the character as the story progresses. But do NOT hold back until the end to reveal crucial details. Your readers should have a solid image and understanding of your MCs core traits by the halfway point. If not sooner.
It’s the development and growth of the character that will continue throughout the story.
For example: River is shown as being a money driven business man with control over the element water. He’s strong, independent, and abrasive. We learn all of that before the halfway point. After these reveals you see him trying to correct his flaws so he can accept Coyote (his mate).
Final Note: Your MC is the one that LEADS your story. He or she, is the one the reader will be with the most during your book. Make this character STAND OUT! You can do that in so many ways, so get creative. Remember, a person isn’t a box that needs to conform to the idea of “normal”. They’re a mosaic that is painted as their story progresses. Treat your character like that. Paint your mosaic, and make it unique.