Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Introducing Your Protagonist

Introducing Your Protagonist
By Billie A Williams

When do you introduce your protagonist? Think about it. Your reader will want to know who and why, at the very least, when they begin to invest themselves in your book. People care about people not back story, not a favorite tea pot. Unless of course, it’s the protagonist's favorite thing left to her by her grandmother or a favored aunt.

But see, there we have it—that tea pot is connected to a person. Who is that person —why does or should the reader care?

If this town or the place is a character, we need to know why this town should be different then any other. We need to know how and why. We need to have some reason to visit this particular town at this particular time in your story-worth-telling. Or why are we here – we didn’t stop by for a scenic tour on our way to find a good compelling book to read.

You must make it matter be that character person, character town, or character monster. Why do you shed a tear when the big foot is released at the end of The National Lampoon Christmas Vacation? It’s a furry monster. Why do you care about the calf Billy Crystal has adopted in City Slickers? Because the writer invested in character. The monster’s character, the family's character — he made us love that furry, ne’r do well critter. Billy Crystal’s character's attachment to the calf echos our own attachment—in both cases the creatures taught us lessons about life and showed the vulnerability of us all. We cared!

Bring your most important characters front and center early. Make sure we have a reason to care about them.

Small Town Secrets
January 2008
ISBN 978-1-59705-7660 (print)
978-1-59705-283-2 (electronic)
Study Guide for Small Town Secrets
Available at http://www.billiewilliams.com
Would You like the recipe for Chaneeta Morgan's favorite Cookie? Email me at billie@biliewilliams.com with cookie in the subject line and I'll send it right off to you.

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