Some might say that a good plot is the most important thing in a book. And don’t get me wrong, the plot is important. In a mystery, or a crime novel, you have to be able to construct a good central ‘case’ for your characters to navigate, one that makes sense, and the conclusion can’t have your Reader throwing the book across the room. Or, it can, I suppose it depends on what sort of reaction you really want to create.
All books have a plot of some kind, if it’s a case to solve, or a hero’s journey to save the kingdom, but in order to tell the story of the Quest, you need a Character to take it on. Your book is going to live or die according to how well you can create a character. Your plot could be flawless, but if you populate your book with two dimensional people you’re not going to have much at the end of the day.
So, let’s talk about characters. Your character should have the strengths that she needs to get through the book, without swinging too far into “Mary Sue/Author Insert” fantasy fulfillment territory. If your main character, or any character, has no flaws, then they’re not a realistic person. Everyone has regrets, weaknesses, and personality flaws/quirks. I’m not talking about a YA heroine who “doesn’t know how pretty she is, and is oh so clumsy and awkward yet somehow also graceful” – I’m talking about a character who feels real.