Can you see how their lives change for better or worse?
Are they fully rounded, believable too?
How do they affect others - by blessing or curse?
When I say fascinate, this doesn’t have to be in a good way. I’ve portrayed Brankaresh as a power hungry misogynist - do I have any sympathy with those views? Definitely not. I think out of all my characters it is easy to spot the one I really didn’t have any sympathy with at all and it was such a joy to kill him off!! Having said that I tried to get into the head of this wizard to find out how he could justify what he believes and what he does. And you need to do this for all your “stars”, whether they’re heroes or not. Readers have got to be able to see where your characters come that in that sense or they won’t be able to empathize. No empathy with at least one character (and it doesn’t matter if that empathy is limited) and you lose your readers.
A great story has its own star
Its lead, whether all good or bad.
A tale can be set near or far
Your lead a hero or a cad.
Your adventure must always grip
Readers right to the very end.
Your narrative can surprise, flip
Ideas of heroics and bend
Our way of thinking, what is true
So your star works out what to do.
And the star doesn’t have to be a hero. There have been many anti-heroes. How would you categorize Gollum for example? He did end up destroying the ring after all...