When you think of the story you want to write, one of the first elements that you create is your main character, also known as: the protagonist. The protagonist of your book is the one who is living the story you are writing. They are the one in the middle of whatever conflict you have created. If you are using a first person narrator, it is the protagonist whose point of view your readers are seeing. Your protagonist is the soul of your book.
Changing Up the Traditional Protagonist
When you start out writing your book, you know that your protagonist is going to be the central focus of your story. They will go though hardships, go through joyous occasions, they will triumph over evil, and overall they will live happily ever after. But what if you want to create a different kind of story from those that are continuously published? What if, instead of a happy ending, your book ended with tragedy? Step away from the norm and experiment with this kind of idea. Do a few short story writing practices utilizing an unhappy ending for your protagonist! Life doesn’t always have a happy ending and books that explore that truth can be great, unique pieces of writing.
Another way to create a protagonist different from many others is to give them qualities not usually found in the hero. Give them a tragic flaw that causes them strife throughout your book. While it is true that the protagonist is the character you root for, it gives the character a sense of realism if they have traits that cause your readers to question their actions and, at one point or another, actually dislike them. Giving them undesirable traits is also a great way to utilize character development in your book. Throughout your story and the events that your protagonist goes through, you can change their bad traits into good ones. Using unlikable protagonists and giving them a chance to go through character development can create a great and realistic story.
The protagonist has always been seen as the knight in shining armor of books, but it doesn’t always have to be so black and white. Create a protagonist with flaws, give your story a chance to end unhappily, experiment with your writing. You have complete creative control and can turn a traditional character, the protagonist, into something completely new.