12 January 2010

Blah Protagonist

Character makes the story. Character draws us into the story. The reader and the audience have to like the characters before they will commit to the story.

A blah protagonist, passive, and pretty quiet (like writers often tend to be) makes for a blah, passive, quiet story.

To spice up the protagonist, give her a goal. The goal has to be specific and quantifiable. Gets her moving. Gets the story moving.

Give her something to do.

Start the story with a dramatic question:

Is she going to... or not? Will he.... or not? Did they... or not?

She takes steps necessary to answer the question.

A concrete goal gives protagonist action so the reader can react to what the character does rather than merely follow her internal monologue.

Get her moving. Let her actions define her.

Cut all flashbacks.

For more on goal setting:

  • read my article in the March '10 issue of The Writer (on book stands mid-Feb.)