I can not help but wonder whether the situation I am in, in regards to my writing, is one which other aspiring authors have encountered. I have a complex, lush, and fully-fleshed-out world, teeming with unique, yet familiar creatures; I have villains with realistic, understandable rationalizations for their actions, and complex backstories that make you both pity and loathe them, and personalities to match; ditto for my ancillary characters. But my main characters? Can you say Vanilla Pudding?
The problem I seem to be having is that, unlike my villains and ancillary characters, my main character doesn’t have a terribly convoluted or tragic background. In fact, she’s just a pretty average country girl who’s going to University in the city. She is utterly devoid of personality. I keep trying to inject her with personality — like a quick temper, innate distrust of others, or naivety — but the Mary Sue Alarm in my head keeps going off when I do. Granted, I’ve been compensating for the Sueishness of these characteristics by having them actually cause her problems in the story, but it still doesn’t feel right.
Does anyone have any advice? Or perhaps an existential treatise on the very nature of personality? Either way, I’d love to hear it.