Sometimes deciding who the main character is one of the more frustrating decisions at the beginning of writing the story. Not only does this include deciding on your main character but also who has the biggest character arc. Should the story take place from the brooding warrior or the nerdy tech guy? Who will the reader relate to the most? Do you want the reader to relate to your main character or do you want more of an anti-hero?
Character arc is the line from where your character starts on his or her journey to where she or he will end up. Uncontrollable events, or the inciting incident, at the beginning of the story should shove the character onto the adventure she or he never expected. Such as a rich aunt dies and your main character has to stay to take over the family business to get the inheritance or your character is bitten by a werewolf and has to learn what to do before the next full moon. This is the event that starts the exciting part of the story. After that the character goes through a building action until they reach the climax. Then end the story with a resolution. Try not to do a cliffhanger unless you know there will be another book because it makes readers upset when there is no end to the story.
If you look at some of your favorite books most will probably have the main character change, learn, and grow from the beginning of the story to the end (and not always for the better). This arc is usually needed to create tension and drama. Without the arc the story can fall flat and readers feel disappointed that the character didn’t learn anything or change at all from his or her new found experiences.
Remember the most important aspect of writing the story is writing about the character with the most arc. The character that grows the most throughout the story should be the main character. Without the change, readers don’t understand why the story happened in the first place. The story should be driven by the character’s experiences. He or she should be shifting as he or she makes his or her way through her or his story. By the end the main character should not be the same.
So decide on your main character and keep writing!
And Happy New Year!