In one historical novel/romance, Simon the Coldheart, she creates an absolutely ruthless, self-motivated protagonist. And I can't stop turning the pages, wondering what he's going to do next and wanting to see how he accomplishes his goals.
That sparked a thought in me. When I look back at my favorite heroes**, they've all had that quality in common. They had a goal and they worked at it and never even think about quitting. I guess I find that to be an admirable quality, because I like it even in villains.
They're all active. They shape the story because of what they want, even if that's just survival in the short-term, they have a longer-term goal. It can be revenge, justice or to save the world. If there's a problem, they solve it but they try to be far-sighted enough to plan around most problems.
They aren't passive, thing happen to them, yes and they react to them. But as soon as they deal with that unexpected twist or boulder in their path, they go back to their goal.
That works. On a character level and on a story level. So if you're in the story planning (or fixing) stage, see if you can create a character that drives your plot, not one who reacts to it.
*meaning the final reveal or final turn require a character to act out of character to get the 'happy ending' both genres require.
** Conan, Druss, Parker, Mack Bolan/the Punisher, Rand al'Thor, Miles Vorkosigan, Paul Atriedes I could go on...