But they're not. There has to be problems, complications, people we don't like to make us want to read to the end. One of my favourite novels, Rebecca, has a protagonist in the first person who is incredibly irritating - I did not like her at all!
When inventing Liss in BROKEN DREAMS AND BOTTOM LINES, I started with myself, my reasons for her being. She was a manifestation of everything which pissed me off about being a single mother; the judgements, the difficulties, the lack of space. But that doesn't mean she IS me; she isn't - she was the vehicle I needed to make my point. But to make a point in 100k words meant I had to exaggerate her qualities so that you could understand the emotions I wanted you to feel for her.
So I made her invisibly average, overweight, underpaid and an under-achiever who desires the perfect fairy tale. This meant there were plenty of crises to be explored as she moved through her life - the novel at this point became a rite of passage, or some kind of personal quest.
She needed to be average, or under-average to get across my point that fairy tales show that people are special, and while we all are, not all of us can be special in that extreme happily ever after way - and that makes those kind of stories unfulfilling. That was ultimately my point.
To make this more realistic, she had to be a bit annoying too. For her to be believable, she had to believe her hopes and dreams of wanting the fairy tale, of being a 'typical' girl insofar as she has body issues and life issues about marriage and so on. Therefore the point wasn't for the reader to like Liss and her friends, but to identify with their crazy moments and to see the links between our own unrealistic goals and our own insecurities.
For me, my writing has to make a point - subtle or slap-you-in-the-face abusive, the point is my reason for writing. As a writer, a novel without a point is pointless. Although that isn't the same for what I enjoy reading; I love all sorts of books for all sorts of different reasons. My reader needs are different to my writer needs.
So Liss and her friends, for me, are meant to highlight the kind of crazy-assed-shit we feel and which influences our self-judgement and hence our self-esteem. They are meant to be you and me, and all of us, at our worst to make us laugh and realise we are so much more than those dark moments when our internal voices lie and hurt us.
Darel Pace is the author of bestselling novel BROKEN DREAMS AND BOTTOM LINES available on Amazon worldwide and from some bookshops. Follow the links below for your copy. (Free download from 15th-17th August 2014).