I'm going to start by saying that if you don't know Elana Johnson http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com/ you should! Jump over to her blog and check out this awesome Great Blogging Experiment!
I'm still consider myself quite a beginner writer. Therefore, I'm still learning how to make my character's compelling. I gave it extra thought this morning and came up with the 3 C's to creating a compelling character.
CONNECT. The reader needs to be able to connect to the MC. Make your MC sympathetic. Help your readers relate to your character. Give your MC flaws, pet peeves, ups, downs, and all those other humanistic traits that we ALL have. That's what makes us human and that's what makes us able to relate to one another.
CONSISTENCY. Make sure your character stays true and consistent to the personality that you represent in the beginning. This will help your character STAY compelling.
CHOICES. Personalities are shaped by choices. What choices have your MC made in the past? What choices are they being faced with right now? What choices are they going to be making in the future? More importantly, how do they handle their choices? Don't make every choice an easy one. Give them choices that show inner struggle. We all have inner struggle. Not every choice is between good and bad. It may be between good and good. But which one is the best and which one is your character going to make. And why? What drives them? What do they hold dear? Make them work for it. Have your character make some bad decisions and show how they learn from them. That learning journey will help the reader connect to the MC and make the story compelling!
To sum things up, here are my two bits in one sentence. The way to create compelling characters is to connect them to the reader by consistent character driven choices.
If you want more tips head over to Elana's blog to find out what others have to say on the matter!
Have a great day!