Your Hero, Your Way
Whether your hero is a six-year-old girl or an alien from the planet Mnaskibire, they need to be relatable to your reader. Even if they are an alien from four solar systems away, they need to have enough in common with humans for your reader to understand them.
Your main character needs to have a flaw, or many flaws. Give them as many flaws as you like. The worse off your hero is, the better your novel can be. To get ideas for character flaws, visit https://www.writerswrite.co.za/123-ideas-for-character-flaws/.
Let’s use immaturity, recklessness, selfishness, idealism as our hero’s flaws. I came up with a drug addict (reckless), previously abused woman (stunted maturity), with two kids she ignores (selfish) and turn her into a sober mom in the middle of a divorce who is trying to make amends with her children. Your main character doesn’t need to figure out everything at the end, they just need to be a better person for having gone through all the crap you throw at them.
Your hero must want something. Using the example above, the hero could want her husband to love her like he used to (idealist), even though she is still drinking and/or doing drugs. She wants to get her spouse to see things her way that there is nothing wrong with her addictive behavior.
Next, your hero must need something. This need has to be different from what they want. In the case of the abused, addict, wife and mother, what she needs is to come to terms with the fact she is an addict (loss of idealistic thought process and decreased recklessness) concentrate on becoming sober before anything else in her life can be fixed. By becoming sober, she can now begin coming to terms with her abusive childhood (increased maturity). As she deals with her previous abuse, and learns it is the cause of her reckless behavior, she understands selfishness stems from her wanting to give herself the things she had taken from her when she was young. And she ignores her children out of fear she would abuse them if she let herself feel anything for them at all.
By deciding on your hero’s flaws, wants, and needs, you create the storyline and character arc.
So, what is your hero’s flaws, wants, and needs?