Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Story Masters : Digging into your Protagonist

by C.L. Phillips

Here's another treat from the first day of the Story Masters class with Donald Maass.  Think of your protagonist and answer these questions:

1) What is their worst habit?

2)  Where in your novel is the first scene where your protag must overcome this nasty little habit?

3)  When does your protag give in to this habit?  When does this pesky habit bring the protag to the point of embarrassment or humiliation?

4)  What does this moment cost your protag?

5)  Is this the worst moment - or what is the worst moment for your protag?

6)  What is the first thing they do when they realize they must change?

You know you are working at a good level of depth when you can quickly answer these questions because you know your protagonist so well.

I use these questions like writing prompts in the first draft of character development, and later when editing, I use them like test questions.  How well do you really know your characters?  How well are the little tics and behaviors connected to the plot of your story?  For me, it's a good writing day when I can punch out the answers to these questions for my main characters in ten minutes per character.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!  And now, back to Nanowrimo.

Keep writing!


Joyce said...

Not too long ago, Donald Maass tweeted writing prompts like that for 30 days in a row. I copied them over into a Word doc. so I could refer to them later. I think if you search #maass on Twitter, you might be able to find them.

C.L. Phillipsw said...

Oooh....sounds like a plan. Thanks for the tip Joyce!

C.L. Phillips said...

Proof it's time to upload words to Nanowrimo...I can't even spell my own name (see previous comment).