Ingredients for making the VERY BEST main character!

Lately I’ve been wondering what does it take to get a load of random character traits, stir them altogether, shove them in the oven and see what comes out… Because this is the year of baking metaphors 😉 In all seriousness… this post isn’t very serious 😉 (I just wanted a fun way to talk about some character tropes I don’t like). Okay time to look at the ingredients…

Let’s start with a dusting of special snowflakery. A main character has to be good at everything… otherwise how will you know they are the main one? The best way to achieve this is to have them be the best from the very beginning (but they don’t know how great they are) because if you leave them to ferment, they might simply explode in the process! No, better to just get an instant mix of perfection. Never have them be vulnerable; always give them every ability in your world. There should be nothing they can’t do- because is the point in side characters if you can’t outshine them and how else will your readers know your mc is a badass? What’s that you’re saying? You want flaws? Oh well, if you insist…

Make them clumsy! You don’t want your character to have any character imperfections (that they can work on) so instead give them two left feet! And make sure they trip over at every opportunity. Have them be uncoordinated to the point of it being baffling, causing genuinely life-threatening scenarios. Don’t worry- this won’t come across as slapstick, because you will have a love interest darkly berating them for nearly getting everyone killed over an untied shoelace. Speaking of which- introducing…

The love-interest-appendage. This entirely makes up for your main character having no personality. This love interest should be moody, speak only in grunts, but be impossibly hot. Not sounding exciting enough? Never fear! When in doubt, make two love-interest-appendages! (this will be useful later!)

And if you need these characters to do something together or bond in anyway, you can just have them be pretentious. They can do things like recite “memorised” verses back and forth. Just pages and pages to fill with someone else’s words- because that’s how you hit the big word counts! Thus you have now given them “obscure” interests that no one else has- which is especially good if you have a female lead, cos then they are conveniently…

NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS! Oh wow- who doesn’t love this trope? This character doesn’t like “normal” girly things like clothes and makeup, cos they’re just so cool and unique. One of my favourite things to include in this trope is having them be bitchy about all other female characters- especially ones who have boobs you envy or blond hair or (*OMG*) boobs and blond hair!! Because girls that have features you envy deserve your ire and this teaches teen girls really healthy messages about how they should treat other women. Also don’t have them be friends with other women- paha! No way is this possible when there is man candy on display. Let them all claw each other’s eyes out- that’s a fun form of conflict. And on the topic of bitchiness…

Your protagonist should be nice-ty. Aka they are really quite nasty, but somehow they believe (and everyone around them believes) they’re a saint. And here’s where that love triangle gets realllly useful- because you can have them cheat on their significant other, emotionally and physically, all the while having other characters saying how sweet they are and how they’re only in this predicament because they’re so nice (barf). Who knew this dilemma came from a place of pure goodness? I’m telling you, this book is going to teach so many *positive* messages.

And when in doubt, you should add some telling into the mix. Make sure to have other characters tell how clever the main character is for instance. Don’t have them problem solve a complex test or put them in challenging situations they have to get out of- just put in that they’re a certified genius and your reader is sure to believe it!

Plus, you can blend in the fact that they’re a plain jane (/plain john). And yet everyone is falling over themselves for their god/dess-like features. Weird that!

Also, add a pinch of bad parenting. Now, I say a pinch, because I don’t just mean removing the parents from the story altogether or an example of abuse. I mean, they should be non-absentee absent parents. I know a lot of people complain about dead/missing parents- so you know what’s better? A parent that’s *right there*… buuut completely ineffectual. Somehow they managed to bring up a child to near adulthood, not letting them run into traffic etc, but at the last hurdle they seem to have just taken their foot off the brakes and don’t seem to care whether their teen lives or dies. Smart.

Mix it all together and what do you get…

Bella Swan!

Okay, just kidding! But it’s pretty close! Do you agree with me here? What ingredients would you add? Let me know in the comments!

48 thoughts on “Ingredients for making the VERY BEST main character!

  1. This is absolutely Bella Swan.

    But … sorry … I have to show my character’s genius by having other characters call them smart, because I am not clever enough myself to come up with complex problems and their solutions to put into the plot.

    I also have to vaguely assert that they are good at things like handling horses or combat, but not put in any details because these are things I’ve never done.

    Thanks for a laugh!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. haha I know!! It makes me really confused- cos surely the author knows they’re not nice? And fine if at least a few people saw them for who they really were (ie not nice) but everyone somehow ends up telling them how sweet they are?!


  2. Great post! Precisely describes Steve Stevens from ‘Doc’ Smith’s 1930 sci-fi ‘Spacehounds of IPC’! Total superhero: main character: a physically perfect, supra-genius mathematician, who ends up trapped on Ganymede with his girlfriend (who’s also physically perfect, supra-smart etc) after an attack by the evil Hexan super-scientists of Jupiter. Seriously. I didn’t make that up. We’re also talking a characterisation so thin they vanish once edge-on. And as for Smith’s writing style… well, ‘telling’ is an understatement and the prose is not merely purple, it’s ultraviolet. Smith actually knew what he was doing, though (and who his market was). It’s on Gutenberg if you want to check out the first few lines…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! Haha wow that sounds like a helluva story! 😉 I presume the story is he saves the day easily with very little resistance from the bad guys? What an adventure that must be! Haha ok I have to check that out… hehe wow just checked it out- the egg cup image certainly gave me a chuckle! That’s definitely fifty shades of purple!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay, the second you put that gif of Edward, Twilight was all I could think of, not even realizing that’s where you were going, and I was like, “Wow, this is really spot on,” and thennnn–shows you how much I pay attention, hahaha.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Brilliant post! I love these tongue-in-cheek lists.

    ‘Not-like-other-girls’ girls drive me nuts as do pretentious main characters who can’t stop the quoting. It was particularly bad in Clockwork Prince. I swear, if I had a pound for every time one of the characters quoted a piece of literature, I’d be set for life!

    Liked by 2 people

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