Okay… So… I admit that I had this fantasy that I would have gotten more writing done this blog last week. But it turned out to be insanely busy. And it also got me to think about my proposed blog post. It’s that I planned to challenge someone else’s blog post that was just begging to be questioned.
But I also realized that I must first define a “protagonist.” I know for those writing for a bit may know what that means; however, you may not. You also may not want to admit that small fact. I’ll come clean that I was one of those people for I saw “protagonist” in many books on writing.
My problem was that no one seemed to specifically define it. There generally seemed to be the assumption that readers knew what it meant. It’s just that the context was not always clear for a protagonist can serve many functions in a story. I admit that I often throw out the “main character” to non-writers to be clear. My reason was always that I don’t have to worry if I’ve lost my audience with the more literary term.
I later read that some people would say that the phrase “main character” and “protagonist” were interchangeable. That was a fairly accurate assessment of the two words. A story was most often about a specific character. That character was called the “protagonist” or “main character.” It was true that some stories had many characters that seemed to drive them, but there will always be one character with just a few more lines and/or scenes. That dude or dudette can claim the protagonist title.
A confusing aspect to the protagonist was always that the story’s protagonist may not always be the protagonist of a scene. It’s that another character drove that scene instead of the protagonist. But that move generally served as an important lesson in that the story’s protagonist was supposed to learn something from the character that overpowered him/her in the scene.
It’s also important to consider that you may have given the protagonist title to the wrong character if everyone else makes shit happen instead of her/him. A character like that would be called “passive” and quite dull to lead a story. Harry Potter struggles with this a bit except there one really important thing about Harry. He’s the guy you call when all the bases are loaded and you need a home run to win the game every time no matter the personal cost. That’s why it’s truly important to understand that a main character or protagonist should be both the focus of a story as well as the force that make things happen in it. I’ll be honest that that was one of the reasons why I felt that “Black Panther” was so weak in that everyone else drove the story except T’Challa (Black Panther.)
Hmmm… I’m hoping that I made things clearer and got us all on the same page for next week’s rebuttal. If not, drop me a line!
Have a great week!