As I near the end of the first draft of my second novel, I was suddenly seized by one of those annoying, niggling feelings that something wasn't quite right. It didn't take long for me to figure it out--the problem was my hero. He's not very nice at the start of the story. In fact, except for his good looks, if I met him on the street I probably wouldn't like him very much. I seem to have this problem--I struggle creating likable characters. I don't think I'm alone.
I've heard of a technique screenwriters (and regular old writers) use early on in a movie (or story).
Have your character save a cat.
Have them do something good, something to show they have a heart, something to tug on your reader's heart.
Okay...it was worth a try. I went back to the beginning of my story, searched for an opportunity for my hero to soften up a bit. I found it, and yes, it definitely made him more likable. Still not certain he's up to par, though. Hmmm...this guy might need to save another cat or two. Maybe an entire litter.
Have you ever struggled with creating likable characters? How do you solve this problem?