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Friday, November 18, 2011

Novel Writing Tips #4 The Protagonist

Time to give some thought to your characters, and the protagonist is a good place to start.  Wikipedia defines the role as follows- A protagonist (from the Greek πρωταγωνιστής protagonistes, "one who plays the first part, chief actor") is the main character (the central or primary personal figure) of a literary, theatrical, cinematic, or musical narrative, around whom the events of the narrative's plot revolve and with whom the audience is intended to most identify.
Assuming your novel is a work of fiction, you're going to want to give some thought to your central character.  This should be someone with whom the audience can identify, a person who your reader uses to discover your story.  Usually this person is at least somewhat likable.
In the original Star Wars movie, Luke Skywalker is the protagonist, and it is through his eyes that we discover this vast and interesting universe.  One of the complaints with Star Wars The Phantom Menace was that there was no clear protagonist.  You may think it was young Anakin Skywalker, but he didn't show up until about 45 minutes into the film.
Ebenezer Scrooge is an interesting protagonist.  In the beginning of A Christmas Carol, we don't really like this man and hopefully you didn't relate to him very well, but we soon found ourselves pulling for him, hoping that he would see the error of his ways.  It is actually the ghosts (even Death) that we relate to more than Scrooge, but in the end we get to rejoice with our protagonist as he finally understands what the rest of us already knew.
In the Twilight books, (no I haven't read them but have suffered through the movies), Bella Swan meets this role, and millions of starry eyed tweeny boppers got to discover Meyer's world through her eyes.
Can you think of some other interesting protagonists, and how they led you through a favorite story?

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