The invention of movable type created opportunities for writers that could barely be imagined in Gutenberg’s day. The opportunities that await writers in the near future are immeasurably greater.
Jason Epstein, editor
You need a strong protagonist regardless of what you are writing, a novel, memoir, or non-fiction. Most writers have a problem with creating a character who is larger than life, fully developed, and a consistent protagonist. For books of non-fiction, the larger than life hero (or villain) steps out of the pages of history. He or she is the reason you are drawn to the story.
Remember, your protagonist is your story’s major character. This is the person with whom your reader will identify. You want your readers to care about your protagonist. He or she is your new best friend. You need to care about your protagonist.
If you as the writer hate the protagonist of your novel, your readers will hate him or her. Now you might have a villain who is evil and a main character but he or she will not be the protagonist of your story. The hero will carry the narrative to a climax of the novel.
Give your protagonist a name. Think about the name as it should suggest the type of person you are writing about. Names are important. A librarian, for example, should not be named Valeria, nor a glamour woman, Mary or Marie. Have your names fit your characters. Have the name fit the character and the time period. Names go in and out of fashion. If you have a young woman set in a particular time period, she should not have a name that was popular in the Twenties.
Your character must be an individual not a type. Remember, as F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said, “Begin with an individual and you will create a type. Begin with a type, and you will have created nothing.”
Writing Trick: Your protagonist is your story’s major character. This is the person with whom your reader will identify. You want your readers to care about your protagonist. He or she is your new best friend. Therefore, you, as the author must like and care about this person.
Your assignment: Decide on your protagonist and describe him or her in a paragraph. Mail that description to me at: email@example.com. I can then place your protagonist’s name on my office wall as I follow you in the course of your writing your book.
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