The protagonist in my first manuscript was a 15-year-old girl named Carah Greene. She was so quirky, cute, and clever that I was sure I could never write another character I'd love more. For a long time that held true. I started (and abandoned) two other manuscripts with a combined total of three protags: 15-year-old Neko, 16-year-old Cat, and 16-year-old River. I liked all of these characters. But I never loved them.
Then I started writing 16-year-old Seth McCoy. It was kind of an experiment. Can I write a boy? Can I really pull this off?
I liked Seth from the very first scene I wrote in his voice. I found his sarcasm and outlook on life so amusing... and different. And unlike Carah who was a good person with a few flawed characteristics, Seth was more like a flawed person with a few good characteristics. That made him challenging, but interesting.
Awhile back, I came to the realization that I love Seth more than I ever loved Carah. I also realized that if I knew him in real life, I probably wouldn't like him. If I'd known him in high school, I definitely wouldn't have liked him. But there is something about being in his head and knowing that the words that come out of his mouth are not the same as what he's really thinking that makes him so appealing to me.
It's kind of funny because I sometimes find myself reluctant to write the scenes with major conflict because I don't like to see Seth get hurt. I just hate it when people yell at him. But I know it's all for the good of the story, so I do it anyway. :-)