Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Protagonist Punch

How an author brings his protagonist onstage for the first time is a critical piece of the writing process. In our short attention span society, authors need to find ways to suck readers (audience for film) into the story and keep them there. One way to capture the reader's/audience's attention is by introducing the main character in an irresistible way, while communicating his or her important traits.

Once authors know the protagonist's strongest characteristic, what makes him or her likable and what makes him or her flawed, they need to weave these points into an enticing scene which introduces that character to the reader. Authors must then also consider compelling ways in which to introduce the villain and supporting characters.

Think of the opening to the film, Raiders of the Lost Ark. In a brief sequence of scenes, the audience is shown that the hero is an American who travels the world in search of treasure. He's astute, tough, and lets no one get in his way. The viewer knows he can use a whip, that he likes his fedora, and that snakes are not his favorite animal. Everything the viewer needs to know about this character is introduced early in the story. When starting a new story, take time to toss around ideas of ways to effectively communicate key traits in the protagonist's introduction to reel readers in for the duration of your story.


Blogger Melissa Marsh said...

Yet another great post, Diana. Now I'm trying to think of some interesting ways to introduce my main character in my next novel. Thanks for the pointers!

9:37 AM  

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