How to Choose your Main Character for NaNoWriMo

Holly Smith
3 min readNov 2, 2021


Image by Dim Hou (unsplash)

As a writer, I find almost everyone I meet can become inspiration for a character in my writing which then leads to an abundance of ideas for characters. So which one do you choose as your main character for your writing?

Here are some of my tips and tricks for figuring out who your main character should be.

  1. Which Character is the most interesting to you?

Out of all your characters which one are you drawn to the most? Who seems to have the best characteristics that would inspire you to write more? I find it much easier to write a story when I actually like my main character vs writing about a character that just seems to fit the quid pro quo of this season.

2. Who are you writing for?

If you are writing for a specific genre then really take the time to think about your audience and who they would enjoy reading as your main character. For example, if you are writing some form of a romance novel most of those readers do not appreciate a storyline where the main character has a “instalove”. Therefore pick the more complex character that would be more of a challenge to make fall in love. Think more along the lines of “10 Things I Hate About You” or “Pride and Prejudice.” Give your readers something to look forward to, something that will keep them guessing because one thing readers cannot stand is for an author to be overly predictable/typical in their writing especially when it comes to the main character.

3. Which Character would have the most motivation to help solve the problem of the story?

Almost every main character ends up being the protagonist of the story. Think about each character as the main lead for this story, what would they do? How would they solve it? Who would have the most to lose if the problem wasn’t solved? The more you can dive into these questions, the easier it will be to identify who your main character is.

4. Which Character has the most intriguing story?

Main Characters should have a more in depth story than any other character in your book. Go through your character sketches and find out which one has the most details or the best storyline. What storyline interacts with the problem of your story the best? Does this character stand out from all the other characters because of these details? Remember your character sketches should be packed with details which ideally would make choosing your main character just a little bit easier.

In Conclusion, Never go for the obvious choice! Pick a character who is not only exciting to read about but is also exciting for you to write about. Don’t settle for a boring main character just because that’s what’s popular right now. My biggest recommendation would be that once you have your list of main characters narrowed down a bit, try writing about each of those characters in one of your important scenes and see how it plays out. You never know what can happen, sometimes your intended Villain could end up becoming your Main Character!

As always, Thanks for Reading & Happy Writing!