Friday, January 1, 2021

2021 - January through March

 
Special Notice: This year, my Writer's Cheat Sheet Blog posts will be updated on the first of every month but quarterly (the next post will be April 1). 

This year's posts will deal with "lists" (also known as Cheat Sheets) that help a writer recall necessary elements before writing (or after) that make for a marketable story, a story worth telling and selling. Such Cheat Sheets are the backbone of a producing writer's Project Bible. 


So, now let's start this new year off with— 


THE QUALITIES OF

 A PROTAGONIST 

(HERO OR HEROINE)


Most romance and fiction heroes (those alpha and beta men) of legendary stories come across as superior to real men in many ways. The same is said for heroines versus real women.

Now, go get a pen and a sheet of paper and recall a book you really enjoyed reading that had memorable characters. As quickly as you can, write down three POSITIVE qualities of the most memorable MALE character in that story. Once done, compare your three to this list of hero-protagonist qualities:

HAS A WOUNDED SPIRIT

HAS A CAUSE /JOB (OR IS BUMMED OUT BY HIS JOB AND NEEDS REJUVENATION)

PEOPLE ARE LOYAL TO HIM

HE IS LOYAL TO HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS

HE IS RESPECTED AND FEARED

HE IS SMART / INTELLIGENT

HE UNDERMINES THE ROMANTIC LEAD's OR HEROINE'S DEFENSES

HE CARES FOR HIS PEOPLE'S PLIGHT (FAMILY, FRIENDS, COWORKERS)

HE IS TRUSTED AND TRUSTWORTHY

HE IS REALISTIC

HE HAS INNER HONOR, A CODE OF HONOR

HE IS DETERMINED, DECISIVE

HE MAY BE A LONER

Now, list as quickly as you can, three POSITIVE qualities of the most memorable FEMALE character in a favorite story. Once done, compare your three to this list of heroine-protagonist / romantic-lead qualities:

HER INTELLIGENCE MATCHES THE HERO'S

SHE IS SMART / INTELLIGENT

SHE IS CONFIDENT MOST OF THE TIME

SHE IS BOLD, DECISIVE, OFTEN A LEADER-BOSS

SHE IS MADDENING IN SOME WAY

SHE IS DETERMINED

SHE MAY BE STUBBORN

SHE IS INDEPENDENT OR INDEPENDENTLY MINDED (SHE THINKS SHE CAN DO IT HERSELF)

SHE IS NOT OUTWARDLY OR OVERLY EMOTIONAL (MOST OF THE TIME)

SHE IS SENSUAL (NOT NECESSARILY SEXY)

SHE STRIVES TO BE FREE, TO BREAK THE CHAINS THAT BIND HER 

SHE HAS A NEED TO FEEL AND BE SOMEBODY SPECIAL

SHE DOES NOT EASILY TRUST 

Did you notice as you went through all the lists, that these are admirable traits? Well, a Protagonist, be they male or female, must be highly admirable. 

Here's the secret, show the reader their MOST ADMIRABLE TRAIT when they come on stage by announcing to the reader their name (the name they will be known as throughout the story, not necessarily their full name). After all, a story is about SOMEONE, a person, so begin with that very special person on the first line of the first page, or within the first sentence or paragraph or within 500 words of the opening of the story. 

Doing so telegraphs to the reader the story is about "someone special" who is a person worthy of a reader's investment in reading the story.

So, how does your protagonist measure up as "hero or heroine" worthy?

A new year is like a blank book. 
The pen is in your hands. 
It is your chance to write 
a beautiful story for yourself 
in this the New Year of 2021!
# # # 



4 comments:

w8 said...

Thank you so much! I appreciate the Cheat Sheets in advance.

Happy New Year!!!

~ Lisa

Catherine said...

You're very welcome. Wishing you all the best with your writing journey and your storytelling.

Janet said...

I did your exercise and was surprised. Not only were all my listed traits positive like you expected, but all six were on the lists you gave. Thanks for the insights.

Catherine said...

You're very welcome, Janet. Have a great year of writing!