How Do I Like Thee?

A funny thing happened on the way to Monday. A writer/friend asked me how she could make her main character more likeable. Two other supporting characters in her book are so colorful that they constantly upstage the protagonist. I told her it might be less work to let one of those colorful characters tell the less likeable protag’s story. This is the same technique used by Arthur Conan Doyle in Sherlock Holmes books, where Watson tells the story. Holmes couldn’t brag about his accomplishments and derring-do and still be likeable, but his trusty sidekick Watson can adore his master all he wants. And does.
Writing Tip for Today: If you hit the same kind of problem with your main character (not likeable, plucky or unusual enough), consider who might be able to tell the story with flair. A supporting character can sometimes (Call me Ishmael) be a good choice for the view point character. Viewpoint character is the person through whose eyes we see the story.

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