Today on Write Better Fiction we’ll cover the Protagonist. Write Better Fiction is a process to help you critique your own manuscript and give yourself feedback. This will help you improve your novel, so you’re ready to submit it to an editor. Check the bottom of this post for links to previous Write Better Fiction articles.
Last week I wrote about Point Of View Goal. This week we’ll keep track of which scenes your protagonist is in.
The spreadsheet has a column for who is the point of view character in a scene, but we also need a column for your protagonist if you write from multiple points of view. If you write from a single point of view, your protagonists POV, throughout the novel, then you don’t need this column.
This column is easy. All you have to do is put the protagonists name in the row where your protagonist is in the scene. The protagonist doesn’t have to be the point of view character for the scene.
The protagonist should show up early in your novel. Some argue the protagonist must appear in the first scene. That’s up to your creative instincts. Whichever way you choose, do so with thought. By keeping track of the first scene the character appears in will part of the process in deciding if you’ve chosen the right protagonist.
Use this column to see if there are long gaps in your scene progression where the protagonist isn’t in a scene. This may jar the reader from the story. The reader may lose track of who they are supposed to be cheering for.
You can sort the spreadsheet by this column and count how many scenes your protagonist plays a part in your novel. If the protagonist isn’t in more than three quarters of the scenes, maybe you’ve chosen the wrong protagonist. You should ask yourself whose story is this.
If you’re writing a romance novel you may follow the pattern where you alternate scenes between the romantic partners. This column can tell you if you’re giving both partners equal time in the novel. You can also sort the point of view column to check the balance of POVs given to each main character.
Your challenge this week is to count the number of scenes your protagonist is in and balance that with how many scenes the protagonist has the point of view.
Previous blog posts on Write Better Fiction:
- Number 1 Question to ask yourself about PLOT
- Number 1 Question to ask yourself about CHARACTER
- Number 1 Questions to ask yourself about SETTING.
- ACTION in a scene
- NAME of a scene
- GOAL of point of view character
Please me know in the comments below if you agree with the advice on counting scenes for your protagonist? Do you write in a genre where it doesn’t matter?
Thanks for reading…