25 July 2011

Deconstruct the Protagonist

Fascinating plot consultation today. The writer knows how she wants the story to end -- the Climax -- and needed support to find a way to get there. 

I have found that writers who know the end of the story early on in the writing of a story often are able to stay on track more easily than writers who have no idea where they are going (though if you're one who has no idea of the end, eventually you'll finish the first draft and know the Climax and thus, have the same advantage as the writer who knows the Climax before starting out). 

Either way, knowledge of the climax determines so many of the earlier decisions you need to make. 

The action the protagonist takes at the climax reveals what traits, knowledge, and skills are necessary for her to prevail. Thus, these necessary skills will be missing at the beginning and she will need relearn or rediscover them throughout the middle. Some skills she will be learning for the first time, but the true skills necessary for success at the climax are rediscovered after having been lost or buried due to her backstory. This is a backward approach to developing a character, deconstructing the end character to determine who she is at the beginning.

Most writers write with a forward approach to developing a character. You fill in a flaw, a strength, and five other character traits on the character profile. Either you begin writing first and the character reveals these traits to you, or you decide upon the character traits first and then construct a character using those traits. However, today was the writer who represent those who write from the climax back to the beginning.

What kind of writer are you?

All of this information and will be found in:
The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of the Universal Story Structure Any Writer Can Master released by Adams Media October 2011. Order NOW and receive it in time to pre-plot for NaNoWriMo in November!

For immediate tips about the Universal Story and writing a novel, memoir or screenplay, visit Plot Series: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? on YouTube. A directory of all the steps to the series is to the right of this post. Enjoy!