Develop a positive spirit and practice magnanimous writing.

What kind of person are you asking your readers to spend 400 or more pages with? What sort of company are you providing for your readers? I don’t mean just your protagonist’s temperament, but your own. What sort of spirit are you bringing to your fiction? What vibe are you putting out on your pages? In manuscripts, I meet many protagonists who are sour, snarky, bemused, self-pitying, singly focused, disconnected, or, frankly, just plain dull. The solution isn’t necessarily creating characters who are relentlessly chipper and nothing but fun, though that might be a relief. Yearning, need, struggle, and change are essential to a good story, yet all of that can be accomplished in a spirit that invites us in more than makes us run screaming. The difference lies in how you, the author, feel about your characters, the story world, and everything in general. You are what you eat, right? In the same way, what you write is you. So what are you serving up?