Fiction Focus 1- Protagonists
So, you’re all set to write that story of dashing and daring- or maybe of romance- or of political intrigue- or self discovery- or an odd relationship- whatever it might be, I will put money on your story having a protagonist. Unless you’re really edgy.
Merriam-Webster defines a protagonist thusly:
a : the principal character in a literary work (as a drama or story)
b : a leading actor, character, or participant in a literary work or real event
But when we think of protagonists, we think of a little more than that. They are usually also the main character or point of view character, and they are the ones that when we read books we route for and when we write the ones we want our readers to route for (of course nowadays, villains are so good we often end up rooting for them a little bit). Whether it’s that we want Jimmy to save his family from a pack of flesh eating monkeys, or that we want Miss Penelope to marry the handsome Count Dupree, or even if we want Anne to finish the short story she is writing in our short story about Anne, we take their side, and we follow them on their journey. The conflict that drives a novel is usually between the protagonist and the antagonist- which could be a person, or a thing, or an idea- or maybe just the protagonist and the world.
So if you’re a fiction writer, who’s the protagonist in your work in progress? Or was there a protagonist you particularly liked in a past work? And who is your favourite protagonist from a book or movie or play not written by you? For instance, my current favourite protagonist is one that I know is very famous and very popular- Lizzy Bennet from Pride & Prejudice. I loved how realistic she is and watching her journey through the novel!