Xlibris Publishing concludes with part 4 of Writing Your Protagonist.
One of the most important questions you will have to ask yourself as you write, ‘what motivates your protagonist?’ The backbone of any character, especially your protagonist, is motivation. A poor motivation, one that is shallow or hard for readers to empathize, can make for a main character that readers do not care about. Motivations help readers to invest in a protagonist, to want a protagonist to succeed for better or worse. You have the range of human emotions and passions to choose for your protagonist’s motivation.
Family and love are prominent and highly relatable to the average reader. After all, what would someone not do for family and loved ones, braving all manner of peril, facing any kind of adversity, and if need perform every form of atrocity. Another is Vengeance and its counter-part Justice. Both are based around the protagonist feeling wronged, with justice being the harder of the two to embrace and vengeance being intoxicating yet self-destructive. These are but a few of the more commonly used motivations. Whichever motivation you use can also affect the tone of your protagonist. Is your protagonist self-less or self-centered in their motives? What will your main character do or not do for the sake of their motive?
As a final piece of advice, make your protagonist suffer or struggle for their goal. To read about a protagonist who wins or succeeds with little to no effort, without loss, is often boring and even irritating. Some writers do well by clearly indicating how hard their protagonist works to overcome obstacles. Other writers do what they can to pile adversity onto their protagonists. It is believable and human for protagonists to make mistakes and stumble, only to pick themselves back up, learn, and eventually win.
Xlibris Publishing hopes you have found this series of entries helpful in writing you own protagonists.
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By Ian Smith