8 ways to maximize your protagonist’s appeal

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A successful novel needs an engaging and vibrant protagonist your readers will want to follow throughout your story. Their appearance, quirks and behaviours are fundamental, but there are other aspects to consider as well.

1. Start with something happening – Whether your character is driving in a car, talking to friends about an event coming up or being chased through the streets by a vampire, when your novel opens with your character in action. What is your main character on the brink of doing and why?

2. Setting your protagonist apart – Right from the beginning you need to ask yourself, what distinguishes your character from all the other supporting characters? What is their central strength and how do they use it to their advantage or how does it get them into trouble?

3. External conflict – What main event will draw the protagonist into the main conflict 6untitledand keep them there throughout the story? Does the opening scene help or interfere with this? What is the ticking clock that forces the protagonist into extra tension as they race against time to solve the main conflict?

4. Goal – What drives the protagonist? They desire something more than anything is the world, but what is their deeper motivation?

7untitled5. Problem – What is the main problem the protagonist is trying to resolve? How do they plan on resolving is and what prevents them and gets in their way?

6. Obstacles – The protagonist needs at least 3 external and at least one internal obstacle they have to overcome that are central to the main conflict.

7. Growth – After confronting these conflicts, how does the protagonist grow because of them?

8. Ending – How is your character different in the ending than they were in the beginning? What do you want to happen at the end of the book? What will the protagonist have to go through to make this ending happen?

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