Students of voting patterns know that appealing to readers' fantasies will produce a score which includes a premium to what a story deserves on literary merit. One way of achieving this is to endow the main character with the appropriate characteristics. For this story, I deliberately tried to avoid as many of these as possible. For example:
1) Military/fighting experience. No.
2) Hyperintelligence/eidetic memory. No.
3) Hung like a horse. No!
4) Filthy rich. No.
5) Mastery of environment/destiny. No.
6) Drives a muscle car. No.
Despite these self-imposed limitations, I tried to create a sympathetic main character, although the variation in scores shows that at least some readers judged the experiment a failure.
Most of the above characteristics are male-oriented. I'd be interested to hear from female readers what characteristics they think a female main character should have in order to fulfill female reader fantasies.
As a sort of postscript, I had an idea for a continuation of my story. On the second anniversary, Clark takes another five bottles of Irish whiskey down to the river bank. The next time he's at the mall, he finds he has parked his box-on-wheels next to a near twin. He strikes up a conversation with its owner, a cute 4ft 11in woman who is very easy to talk to and strangely familiar. It's only after they cement their burgeoning relationship with some very satisfactory traditional sex that he discovers her last name - Warrender! However, to get to that point would require me to cover a year's worth of graphic descriptions of teen deflorations and that's not where my interest or strength lies.
Thanks to everyone who reads the story and provides feedback,