Thursday, January 26, 2012
Protagonists and Heroes
As I start to write a new novel, I ask myself: Who is at the center of my novel? Is he/she a protagonist, or a hero?
In The Fire In Fiction by Donald Maass, says: "Every protagonist can be a hero, even from the opening pages. That quality is essential if readers are to tag along with your main character for hundreds of pages."
I hadn't thought of making any of my protagonists heroes, just characters showing us how they deal with and learn from their difficult life experiences. Maass also says, "you need only find in your human being what is strong, and in your strong human what is real. Even greatness can be signaled from the onset."
That sounds good, but I wondered how do you find your protagonist's strength?
Step one: It depends on how you created him/her! Depending on the personality they have, you can find any kind of strength, even something small. Ex. Caring about someone, a longing for hope or change.
Step two: Provide a way for that strength to be demonstrated within your protagonist's first five pages.
Step three: Revise your character's introduction to your readers so they feel this story is worth their time, that it will greatly stir and impact your readers and stay with them.
It has taken me a while to determine my protagonists strength, but I think I'm getting closer to showing it in the first five pages.
Have you had success with finding and showing your protagonist's strength in the first five pages? Any tips you wish to share?