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Monday, March 15, 2021

Core Principles of Crafting Protagonists (Free Download)

One of the common problems I see related to character creation is that many writers focus too much on figuring out surface details about their protagonists and don’t know how to add dimension and depth to them. They may fill out lengthy questionnaires with inquiries on everything from “What’s your character’s favorite day of the week?” to “What is your character’s computer password?”

It’s not that these questions can never be helpful. It’s just that, more often than not, they aren’t particularly useful. They lead writers to go overboard brainstorming superficial characteristics rather than taking a deep dive into character

At best, they are fun fluff that make you feel good. At worst, they are clutter that tempt you to take your story the wrong direction, as you struggle to incorporate what is actually irrelevant information.

Perhaps no character is more important than the protagonist. This is the lead of the story. This is the person the audience will most closely identify with, follow, and root for. 

Months ago I put together a ~12k booklet on protagonists, called Core Principles of Crafting ProtagonistsPart of it was a response to this problem, and part of it was because I've always been a character-focused writer at heart. (And I'll be honest--I filled out plenty of those questionnaires as a young writer, and they pretty much never helped me write a great story.)

In this booklet, you will learn about the most important protagonist component for storytelling, how to make your protagonist round and complex, and how to convey his or her personality immediately on the page.

Here are some of the concepts it includes:

- Character Arcs (The 4 Types of Protagonists)

- How Plot and Theme are Directly Influenced by the Protagonist

- Your Protagonist's Ghost

- Understanding Want vs. Need

- Making a Character Complex through (1) Contradictions, (2) Stakes and Boundaries, and (3) Identity

- How to Convey Your Character Quickly on the Page Through Voice

- Dos and Don'ts for Writing Your Character's Voice

- Effective Components to Include When Introducing Your Protagonist

- And more.

I have talked about many of these topics on my blog over the years (and several even recently), but this booklet serves as an introduction to them as well as covers a few concepts I haven't posted about on here. It also might be helpful to have all these topics in one place. 

Now, if you discovered me from the online seminar I did in January or you recently signed up to my newsletter, you may already have an early version of this booklet. The newer version simply fixes a few errors and typos. 

For everyone else, you can get a free download of Core Principles of Crafting Protagonists when you sign up for my blog via email

If you have the earlier version or are already subscribed to receive emails, simply reply to this email, and I will send you the newest version of Core Principles of Crafting Protagonists. 

I hope this booklet helps many write stronger protagonists. I have been blogging for over eight years now, and I have never had a booklet to give away. I would appreciate any help in spreading the word to other writers, or any kind of support you can give to this freebie.

Regardless, thank you for all of the support you have given me and this site over the years. It has certainly turned into something more significant than I expected. I hope it has been worthwhile to you.

Until next time, enjoy pursuing the booklet, or if you have already done that, you might find something interesting on my Writing Tip Index

Happy writing! 


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