As spunky as my main character is, she’s too often the passive observer, the angel lifting her skirts out of the muck. I need to activate her.
I note the three words printed in big type and pinned to my wall:
WANT — OBSTACLE — ACTION
On every page, in every scene.
I like this essay on developing character by Alicia Rasley: “Sympathy without Saintliness.”
Here’s a quote:
[blackquote] So forget about perfection. Forget about loading this poor guy down with a miserable past. Just give the protagonist trouble now, and make it a struggle—and the reader can’t help but sympathize.
We sympathize more with characters who have to work to be good, and we see the effort involved.