Okay, we’ve talked about God and villains. Now, let’s turn our attention to the main character – or protagonist.
What makes a good hero/heroine? They need to be someone the reader can sympathize or care about right away. How can you create interest right away? My friend, Joyce Magnin, says to put your hero up a tree and throw rocks at him.
What kind of characteristics should a protagonist have? A hidden magic ability? A gift already known? Luke Skywalker had the force. Wil Ohmsford from The Elfstones of Shannara had enough elven blood to bring the Elfstones to life. Frodo only had his hobbit sense. My heroine, Akeela, has something I call spirit-sight; she can see auras around living things.
My mentor has a list of questions she uses when beginning a new story. It has helped me develop and know my characters better. When you know your characters well, they become real. And when they become real to you, they’ll be real to the reader. When they are real to the reader, the reader will care about them. That keeps pages turning.
Your main character had needs. In the beginning of the story, what is the obvious need? Something the reader can identify right away. When you establish this, you create sympathy and the reader will want to see what happens next. You’ve hooked them. This is true no matter what genre you write.
But there also needs to be a hidden need, which the protagonist will realize by the end of the book. The reader should not know this right away.
To recap: how do we create a hero/heroine the reader will care about from the very beginning who is interesting, real and not stereotyped?
Don't Plant Trees!
3 years ago