So, when do you start absolutely adoring your character?
Usually, the first glimmer of an idea that I get for a character has me falling in love with him/her. But I generally don't start adoring him/her until after I've had him/her suffer a couple of life's hard knocks. Then, it's like the real mettle of the MC emerges, the real character that has been buried under the calm of an easy life until that moment.
My character doesn't start proving himself/herself until I throw an element of suspense into the story, and see how he/she responds to it. Once I see how my MC takes stress, I can add a little more drama and see how he/she overcomes that.
Total adoration doesn't happen until the plot twists, and an unexpected blow sends the MC right off his/her head. I love to see how anger, stress, love, gladness, madness, and hate affect my MC's character, and it's such a joy when a voice whispers in my head, okay, now write this scene you didn't realise needed to be written. I love it when that voice materialized.
Usually, by the end of my novel, I have this MC on a shelf, my mental shelf of favoured characters. This MC will be one I'll go to and re-read over and over and over again.
How 'bout you? How do you fall in love with your character?