Making Your MC Likeable

Today, I struggled with a scene. I wrote it over four times already, and I’m still working at it. You see, I’ve reached the point in my story where the MC has to face and overcome her flaw. And in her case, it’s jealousy. The problem lies in that bringing out her jealousy, it induces spitefulness, which makes her unlikeable to the reader. According to my writing partner, the MC should remain likeable throughout. And up till now, she has been. In fact, it’s her character that received the greatest remarks from the judges in the Rosemary contest. To lose that, means to lose a driving positive of the entire book.

So I’m trying my best to maintain her flaw, but to minimize the damage it does to the reader’s view of her character. So hard! What I’ve learned is that this is one spot in your book you can’t rush or draw a curtain over. And you can’t just “tell” why she’s so jealous. The reader won’t relate from arm’s length. You need to “show” everything leading up to it in order to allow justification for your character’s spiteful words or little tantrums. Make the reader feel like it’s okay for her to react this way. That they would, too. This I think is the key to maintaining the likeability of your character, even with their flaws.

How important do you think it is to keep your MC likeable? How have you handled flaws?

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