You love your character so much, you’re ready to spend the next six month of your precious life telling his/her story.
But your job is not to help and protect.
YOUR JOB AS A WRITER IS to hurt your HERO/HEROINE as hard as you POSSIBLY can.
There are two factors to assess the worth of a fictional character: (1) the amount of troubles he’s in and, (2) the amount of energy he employs to solve them.
The more troubles, the more fascinating your story.
If your character’s problems are small or artificial, his actions will be proportionally small and artificial. You will end up with a weak story.
You should never help your character. Never lead him to a crucial clue. Never save him from a grave danger – your job is to hide the clue deeper and create even greater dangers. Then, you let your character solve his problems all by himself.
Actually, each time you fix a problem for your character, you’re closing the door for more storytelling and development. Instead, when you’re adding yet another set of insurmountable obstacles, you’re pushing the story forward and giving your character more opportunities to prove his worth and captivate our interest.
If your character wants to be the world fastest running athlete, cut is legs
If he needs to save the world, make him weak and cowardly
If he loves the girl, kill the girl
YOUR JOB IS TO CREATE UNSOLVABLE PROBLEMS, YOUR CHARACTER
IS TO SOLVE THEM MISSION
So remember, as a writer, you’re the baddy J