I've never read a book that suffered from a more passive character than the one I'm currently in the middle of. I won't name names, because at this point, I don't have a lot of nice things to say.
My first novel suffered from this in places. It's an easy pit to fall into, just having your charming and interesting main character sit there while wild and crazy things happen all around them. You have so much to tell! You can't wait to show the reader everything about everyone, and don't worry, we'll get to the actual story in good time. Just bear with me, indulge me, won't you? It will all be worth it in the end.
Ah, yes, I've been there.
When I read 'wait, I'll tell you about that later' and 'but I'm getting ahead of myself' for the tenth time, I knew I was in for a rocky read. But I'm sticking with it. Why? The main character is interesting and I'm hoping the promise of a great plotline pans out.
So far, we've spent the first third of the book getting to know all about the main character's childhood and launching into the big thing that I'd hoped would get the pace really cracking. However, instead, we've wandered off into the full backstory's of several other characters. Don't get me wrong, they're well told and interesting, but it's not furthering the plot. In fact, that's at a complete stand still.
The main character has all the promise of wowing me, but they seem content to react to others, going with the flow, and never acting themselves. Thankfully there are other characters to propel the plot forward (when we're not busy learning all about their past). But what I really want to see is this character moving forward of their own accord. Less learning about everyone and everything and more doing.
I find myself wanting to haul out my red pen and make notes. Lots of notes. But the damage is done, it's already published. I'm just hoping that, by the end, I'll see the awesome that grabbed someone's attention and made them want to publish this particular book.
Excuse me now, while I put my optimism back in it's box.