Today's character on the couch is Vianne, the brainchild of J Elayne. Vianne is the 15-year-old adopted daughter of the governor of Alabama. She's a bit antisocial, has had suicidal ideation and mood swings, and doesn't have any friends. She's never been able to do anything "right." She likes this boy at school, yet she also wants to have a friendship with his girlfriend.
J Elayne wants to know: Are there any more ways to make her come across as more sympathetic? How do I get in her head without confusing the reader or turning the reader off?
Since it does make you seem a bit sleazy to like the girl's boyfriend but yet want a relationship with them both, your author will have to work hard to make you likable from the get-go in order for the reader to want to follow you through your internal transformation or maturation.
I've been reading this book called Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need. I think that you'll find this little "save the cat" nugget helpful in figuring out how to make yourself likable and relatable. Read on.
antisocial personality disorder (APD) would make writing a likable character daunting for even a master novelist. (Oh, a 15-year-old can't have APD diagnosed until they are 18. Just FYI.)
What Blake Snyder says in Save the Cat is really helpful. He was writing this for screenplay writers, but the same is true for novelists. In every movie or book, there needs to be a scene where the main character "saves the cat," or does something that makes the audience/reader like them. This means within chapter one for a novel.
It could be something simple like helping a kid pick up their textbooks after being bullied or stooping to pick up some trash in the cafeteria so that the custodian doesn't have to. The reader just needs a little something to sit up and say, "Hey, that was really nice." It makes reading about your character in less-than-shining lights easier and more palatable.
As for how you can get in her head without turning the reader off (I assume because of the darker nature of her struggles), I'd suggest to go with humor. Bonnie Grove's Talking to the Dead was an amazing read about a very trying mental disturbance one woman goes through after the death of her husband. The humor helped soften the darkness.
I hope you've enjoyed your time on the couch, Vianne. If you want to take it deeper, you know where to find me.