Creating sensational protagonists is the first thing you need to write a story, any story.
Fictional stories are about people, how they act and react, and why they do the things they do. The reader’s first impression of your main character is crucial. Your Audience will decide quickly if your hero or heroine will be someone they want to get to know better. Someone they want to follow for 200-300 pages, or more.
Secret #1: Introduce Your Sensational Protagonists with a Significant Event.
The event needs to change your Protagonist’s direction. Force them to set new goals.
Choose something that will demonstrate the predominant personality of your character. The event should be an important development for your character. It should set up your storyline.
Example: Smoke rose in dark grey plumes as David entered the building. Iridescent flames shot past him. He heard a cry and knew he must keep moving into the inferno.
Example: The puppy rolled onto his back for Francine to pet. A sudden burst of perfect joy filled the child. “I will call him Patches.”
Can you think of ways these events might change David’s or Francine’s life?
Use your Imagination
The next step
Secret #2: Physical Traits of Your Sensational Protagonists.
Give the reader an idea of how you picture your character. A skillful description should go beyond blonde hair and blue eyes. Painting an accurate image includes details about gender, age, and body type.
Think of your story.
What physical characteristics might affect your storyline? Be sure to include those at the beginning of the story before your readers develop their own image of your character.
Example: Suzette was petite. Her eyes were like pools of dark chocolate. She sauntered away with impudent swaying hips.
Example: Grandpa’s aged face and arthritic hands belied his magnetic personality. A picture from his youth showed him with thick dark hair which was now thin and grey. Each Sunday he dressed in his best suit and hobbled off to church. Grandpa was a dignified old man.
Can you see how you can include personality in your physical descriptions?
The next tip is one secret to showing your protagonist’s personality without telling.
Secret #3: Convey Personality with a Description of Voice
Your readers are more interested in the personality of your character than in how they look. Include personality in your dialog. Show your readers how they speak. Consider different words they might use and the tone of voice.
Example: Mr. Charter stood ramrod straight. His military bearing was obvious, his harsh baritone voice always made me grit my teeth. He pounded his words like nails, expecting us to leap at his command.
Example: Andrea chatted breathlessly. Her hands were animated and dainty. Ken was captivated by her harmonious voice and tinkling laughter. She had a natural gift for joy.
Secret #4: Even More Important is your protagonist’s View of Life?
Early in your story give the reader a foreshadowing of your main characters’ view of life. Consider what type of philosophy will play into your story. This is the essence of your character. This can be especially important in developing a theme or message you want to share.
Example: Kyle held the test tube before his eyes, watching the liquid gradually turn green. His mind reached out to grasp the meaning of the chemical reaction. This is too good to be true, he murmured to the empty lab. As a scientist, I must perform the experiment again, just to be sure.
Example: If she faced a conflict between her heart and her mind, Glenda’s mother recommended, she always follow her heart. She hesitated.
Was it her heart speaking, or her hormones? The consequences could be dangerous. She would follow her feelings, what her mother called woman’s intuition, and hope it wasn’t wild hormones disguised as love.
What impact will your character’s view of life have on your story?
This Next question is even more essential to your story.
Secret #5 What Are your Protagonist’s Goals or Desires?
What motivates your protagonist? Your character’s yearning to accomplish a goal is what will keep your readers enthralled. The story should be about your protagonist’s efforts to achieve a goal. Why and how they go about it is what will intrigue your audience. How do they overcome the obstacles you or your antagonist place in the protagonist’s way? If you want your readers to root for your character for 2 or 3 hundred pages, be sure to give your protagonist passionate motivations.
Example: The guards hate us because we refuse to die. All my efforts are concentrated on staying alive. I will return to my wife and daughter.
Example: I must write about this. I need to make sure Brian has not died in vain. The world needs to know what happened.
Do you see how strong motivations will intrigue your readers?
#1 You have created a significant event.
#2 You have told your readers about your protagonist’s personality, and physical traits.
#3 You have explained your protagonist’s view of life and decided how that will affect the choices they make, throughout your story.
#4 You have used dialog to reveal personality
#5 You have helped your readers understand what your protagonist’s desires and goals.
If this post has been helpful Check out: 10 Traits of Great Protagonists
Now Go Try it.
I encourage you to try these five tips as part of developing your sensational protagonists.
The rest of your story will be about how those things affect your protagonist.
How do your characters struggle to accomplish the goal you have created for them?
Your next step is to create as many complications as you can think of, to prevent them from accomplishing their goals.
This is how great stories are created.
MEMORABLE STORIES ARE ABOUT SENSATIONAL PROTAGONISTS.
John & Patty @ writingagreatbook.com 2023
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