I watched two movies recently. One featured an ambitious, cutthroat business woman. The other, a happy-go-lucky kind of liar.
Both of these characters had flaws that propelled the story.
I liked heroine A, but not heroine B. Why was heroine A more likable than heroine B?
With heroine A, the watcher is shown almost right away a brief glimpse beneath her hardened shell. Brief, but it makes all the difference.
Heroine B is presented as a "nice" person, but I don't think that made her likable. I think for her to have been more likable the watcher needed to see something early on that showed heroine B actually cared for people around her and just didn't use them for her own purposes all the time.
My conclusion? A likable character may have horrible flaws, but they must also present some form of virtue, and right away, so that we, the reader, can see that this character has potential. And that they're worth rooting for.
Do you have a formula for making likable characters? Is there anything that would make a character unlikable to you, no matter what other virtue he or she might possess?