15 April 2013

Main Character is Both Protagonist and Antagonist

A writer has worked for 7 months on a treatment about a veteran from the United States military. The story is timely and the writer's promise of insight and meaning into a troubling social issue is exciting.

At what looks like around the Crisis (based on his scene count), the writer comes to the realization that the protagonist is both the protagonist and antagonist because he is still at war with everything, mostly with himself.

Thanks to The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master (PW) he recommitments to finishing and wants help.

In PW, I talk about the protagonist as his/her greatest antagonist for the very sorts of reasons the writer lists in his email. I suggests he use PW to plot out the protagonist's story from his internal antagonist's POV. Treat that part of the charactered as he would any other antagonist, anyone or thing that interferes with his success.

What's key is finding the exact right external action to best show the internal struggle. When characters are at war with themselves, the struggle is internal and manifest as a thought (internal), an emotion (internal), desire (internal) versus showing his reaction (external) or an external event that happens to him (external). Be aware of his internal thoughts and emotions and desires. Show them in scene in external dramatic action that reinforces the greater thematic significance of the story.

Create challenges in the present to bring out what he needs to overcome.

Can be a bit challenging to separate the two parts of himself and well worth the effort. Great good luck!


Knowing what to write where in a story with a plot allows for a more loving relationship with your writing. Whether writing a first draft or revising, if you falter wondering what comes next in a story with a plot, follow the prompts inThe Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing

Today, I write.

To familiarize yourself with the basic plot terms used here and in the PW Book of Prompts:

1) Watch the plot playlists on the Plot Whisperer Youtube channel.
2) Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3) Fill out the exercises inThe Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
4) Visit:
Blockbuster Plots for Writers
Plot Whisperer on Facebook
Plot Whisperer on Twitter