Good Story – Boring Main Character

I’ve as of late been really struggling with CANITUS. The story itself is solid, and good. The outline of it is workable, and flows. A lot of the supporting characters work in the sotry. But the main character, is just.. a bit dull. He’s missing a spark, something to make him more interesting. While he gets a bit more interesting down the line, there’s still something missing.

As a result I find myself not overly interested in writing his story, He’s sort of a sad sack to use an old phrase.

So it got me thinking, what could I do to make him more alive? More.. believable. I want the readers to have some level of interest in him, so engagement.  This isn’t a new thought, I’ve been thinking about it for a few days now, and this morning had a bit of a breakthrough.

Some background: In the distant mists of time, when I was in middle school, I played a lot of AD&D. (Advanced Dungeons and Dragons for you not in the know.) My favorite character I ever played was a simple Dwarf Fighter (this was 1st edition rules for those who know what I’m talking about.) Which normally isn’t all that interesting. I decided to make him totally paranoid however in one way, he was abosolutley paranoid to the point of obsession about Doppelgangers.  In the game, Dopplegangers were monsters that could assume the shape, form, voice, etc of another “humanoid.” This character was terrified of this, and came up with elaborate methods to test if someone he meets is a Doppleganger or not. Eventually he got enough wealth and influence to get a magical item that let him see if someone was one or not.

But he was a hella lot of fun to play. He was interesting. He had a purpose other than “kill stuff and get treasure.”

Last night, watching an episode of Sherlock and then one of the new House of Cards, it hit me, I could make my main character just generally paranoid. In Sherlock, Holmes finds things out through his powers of observation and his brilliance. In House of Cards, Underwood through his totally lack of morality, and his connections, gets what he wants..


So now, I’m going to embark on a rewrite.. the book isn’t done, but I think making the changes to the main character will in fact help me get it done and make him a hell of a lot more interesting to actually write, and of course, to read.



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