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Protag’s Characteristic Moment

I want to share some nuggets of wisdom. I mean, they could also be called a load of crap, so I’ll leave that for you to decide. Me, I found this information valuable.

I’m currently reading ‘Creating Character Arcs’ by K.M. Weiland. It’s full of great insight but today I want to share just a slice of it.

The Protag’s Characteristic Moment.

There is much controversy around whether there are rules to great storytelling. Some think there must be specific structure to be considered a well-told story, others think you should just plant your seed and watch it grow. Personally, I think it’s a bit of both but that is for another day.

When I K.M. Weiland broke down this list of necessary introductory aspects to your character, I couldn’t deny how often it is used. I pulled out several books from my shelves and flipped through the first few pages of each and, bam! Every intro was played out in accordance with his list. Not all in the same way or at the same time, but they were all used. I’m going to give an example next to each one based on the most current book I finished, Rebel of the Sands.

Here is the list:

  1. Introduce Protag. – We immediately enter the p.o.v of our main character.
  2. (Probably) Reveal Protag’s name. – Purposefully hidden.
  3. Indicate age, gender, nationality, occupation – a woman trying to hide her identity, a desert dweller, indicates age by mentioning she still lives with her uncle (young)
  4. Important physical characteristics. -bright blue eyes that contrast to her tanned skin or any other desert dweller around.
  5. Role in the story. -main character
  6. Demonstrate the prevailing aspect of his personality. -Deceptive and strong willed
  7. Hook reader’s sympathy and/ or their interest. – We learn she’s trying to escape her town after her mother was hanged and her uncle intends on marrying her. Also, a female in her society is inferior to men.
  8. Show the protag’s scene goal. – to win the earnings from a shooting competition
  9. Indicate protag’s story goal. – to escape Dustwalk, the town she lives in.
  10. Demonstrate, or hint at, the protag’s lie. – The only way she’ll be happy is to travel to Izman.
  11. Influence the plot directly, or in a way that foreshadows later events. – She meets Jin, who later helps her escape and into a wild adventure.

Go ahead, pick up a book. Open the first few pages and choose for yourself how well the intro is in comparison to the list. The details in the list aren’t anything necessarily new to me, but seeing them jotted down, they shed a new light on building that first scene, nudging a stronger purpose into the works. Who is my character and what do my reader’s need to know about him? About the story?

Anyways, hope this helped some of you writer’s out there. What are your thoughts on the Protag’s Characteristic Moment? Did this help? Is it all obvious and I’m over here like, amateur? If it did help then you should definitely look into buying the book. Click here.

Happy Writing, my creative souls!

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