What do you want from your main character (MC)?
What things do they bring to the story? Do they rescue someone? Do they abuse some one? Are they good? Evil?
You may not know all the characteristics of your MC when you first start outlining, but you know the general direction you want them to take. In Dream State I wanted my MC, Drew Sovern, to be a monster. I wanted him to act and behave as though there were no ramifications for the things he did. I also wanted him to be mentally unstable, but appear to be completely normal. He was a tough guy to write, because on top of the things that he was doing, I wanted his actions, his day to day activities to be believable.
In my current WIP, I was introduced to an excellent tool, courtesy of Carol Valdez Miller, @cvaldezmiller. Her tip was to interview the character. Seemed a bit odd to me but it was a chance to stretch a little bit, so I tried it out. The results surprised me. I sat down and developed a series of questions, then assumed the persona of the character, and came up with some very interesting results.
So if you’re struggling with the finer points of your characters, try an interview. You’ll find more than you bargained for, and create a much more robust and interesting character.
Thanks Carol for the wonderful tip.
Happy new year, and Happy writing.