Ways To Make Your Protagonist Stand Out

By on July 29, 2019

Your protagonist is at the heart of your story, and having an engaging, compelling protagonist is a must. This is your main character, the person that will carry the reader on the journey, the reader will follow them and see the world through their eyes, experience things as they experience them and direct them to think and feel in a certain way.

Creating a protagonist who stands out and rivets your reader is essential and a key ingredient in any good story. So how do you do it? Here are some helpful tips:

Have a solid idea

The premise for your story must be well crafted, as this is the base from which your protagonist will develop and grow. You might struggle to get to know your characters if you aren’t sure what your story is about or where it is headed, so it is crucial that you are clear on certain points before you begin writing your story. Ask yourself questions such as:

Which character will take the lead role in your story?
What is the goal of this character, and why are they motivated to achieve this goal?
What are they afraid of? What obstacles might prevent them achieving the goal?
What actions will they take and what are the consequences of these actions?

Know your characters

Getting to know all the characters that appear in your novel is so important. The better you know them, the more naturally you’ll be able to write, and you’ll know instinctively how they will react to particular situations and events that occur in your story. To get to know your character ask:

What is their history, what has led them to this moment?
What drives them?
What is the chip on their shoulder, their Achilles heel?
What makes them stronger?
What beliefs and values do they hold dear?

Your protagonist needs to be relatable, so it is essential that readers feel as though it is a real person they are reading about and connecting with. So make them human (even if they are a superhero), make them flawed. Add in quirks and idiosyncrasies that make them unique and endearing and noticeable and memorable.

Make sure your protagonist changes and learns something.

A protagonist can’t stay static; they can’t be the same at the end of your story as they were at the beginning. It is vital that they go through a profound and meaningful change. If they don’t, your readers will soon lose interest, and your story will feel meaningless. Throughout the story they must have had to make difficult decisions, they must have made mistakes, and they must have had to sacrifice something important to them to achieve their goal.

A good writer will be able to empower the protagonist through their writing, make them able to make important decisions and to decide their fate. Doing so will make them exciting, readable and leave your readers on the edge of their seat hoping that they make those decisions wisely and get what they want in the end.

A great protagonist really does make a story come alive, and without one your book will be in trouble, so use these tips to make sure that you create a protagonist that stands out!

bethany cadman

Bethany Cadman - bethanycadman.co.uk

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