Jul 13, 2016

Writing Exercise: Getting to Know Your Protagonist


Here's a writing exercise from K. M. Weiland's online course. This is from the first module and geared towards helping you figure out your character's lie. I tried it out on the protagonist of my current WIP, so I'm omitting anything too spoilery.

What misconception does your protagonist have about herself or the world?
-                       she thinks she'll only get approval for accomplishments (in a job she detests deep down) and that nobody really cares about her for herself 

What is she lacking mentally, spiritually or emotionally as a result
-                       someone to really talk to
-                       love
-                       professional fulfillment
-                       security
-                       empathy for others

How is the interior lie reflected in the character’s exterior world?
-                       she’s basically a XXX
-                       she was badly scarred by childhood experiences and being forced to XXX
-                       she’s not living, she’s surviving

Is the lie making her life miserable as the story opens? How?
-                       she can’t let people in, and hides behind sarcasm and bravado. The one friend she has, she can’t fully open up to.
-                       She does what she’s told, but she just wants to get out
-             She rebels against XXX and has to deal with the consequences
-                       She can’t see how XXX is making a difference in the XXX. She doesn’t care enough to take sides or to talk XXX out of XXX. She doesn’t want to risk losing her chance at XXX, even though it might cost the lives of the people she cares about

What event will make her uncomfortable in her lie?
-                       the power play resulting from XXX
-                       XXX's danger vs loyalty to XXX.

Can you use qualifiers to narrow down the focus of the lie?
-                       She thinks that she’ll be happy if she’s XXX, and XXX matters more than people

What are the syptoms of your character’s lie?

-                       sarcasm, inability to let people in, a hard exterior, a cold attitude towards suffering, lack of empathy, tendency to solve things with force instead of talking things out

That's mine. Go ahead, try it out on your protag? Did it help?

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