By Cheryl Bur
The key to creating a great protagonist is identifying what is unique about them, and using those qualities to direct the plot. You must also decide what consequences the resulting events will have on the protagonist. The following questions may prove helpful:
1. Why is this particular character in this story? What distinguishes him/her from other people?
2. When the story begins, what is the protagonist doing? Can you make it fit the unique qualifications you identified above?
3. Does the protagonist choose the plot or vice versa? NOTE: Beginning a story where the plot chooses the protagonist provides a lot of forward momentum and hooks the reader right away.
4. What external situation will require the protagonist's participation throughout the story?
5. What is his/her goal in the book? Is it an external or internal goal? What is he/she willing/unwilling to do to for it?
6. What are three obstacles in the way of achieving that goal?
7. What qualities within the protagonist can help him/her to overcome these obstacles?
8. What qualities within the protagonist can prevent him/her from overcoming these obstacles?
9. How can these qualities be used in a climatic scene where the goal is achieved, sacrificed, or abandoned?
10. What do you want to happen at the end of the story? Remember, your ending is going to help determine the message your reader will retain after closing the book.
11. How are the events of the plot going to change the protagonist? Is the change positive or negative? What has he/she learned from the experience?