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A friend of mine asked to read my latest project, which happens to be Fearless. I don’t usually share my work with people I trust so early in the game, but I offered him the first two (draft) chapters, mostly just to shut him up.

It didn’t.

What I got back was an earful. He made some good points, but this had to be my favorite critique: The best friend is more likable than the hero. To quote: “Your hero’s a jerk.”

That one actually made me grin. Because yes, he is. But, that’s a big part of the story.

One of the things I love about my main characters is that they’re flawed. Some more than others, of course, but I try to help them all grow. That’s the beautiful thing about heroes and heroines. They’re like you and me (sometimes scarily so), but, over the course of the story, they push themselves to be better people. They don’t always get what they want, but they’re stronger men and women for the effort.

Which is why it’s so much fun to write them as jerks in the beginning:

Ross felt a grin creep to his face. Then he raised his free arm and called out, “Mornin’, Beth!”

Neville clicked his tongue, muttering, “Grow up.”

Ross ignored him, swinging his board up as he approached both fruit and filly. He bent his head, offering the Crispins’ youngest daughter a leering smile. “You look as scrumptious as those apples!” he told her.

Beth laughed and blushed bright red under her kerchief. “Thank you,” she said, her voice mostly squeal.

It took some effort for Ross to keep his smile in place; hopefully, that voice would one day mature as nicely as her tits had already done. Still, he wasn’t interested in her, just the apples, so he offered her a charming flare of his nostrils and asked, “Think you could let us have a taste?”

What do you like best about your main character(s)? Are they the ones who grow over the story, or do they spur the growth in others?