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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. 

You can get a free download of Core Principles of Crafting Protagonists when you sign up for my blog via email. 



Happy writing! 


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