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Day 12 of new novel: my protagonist is a dumbass. Seriously.

July 12, 2013

First of all, I passed the 10K mark today.  Woo!  Once again, today’s wordcount was just over 1000, bringing my total to the region of 10800.  That means my average is now almost precisely 900 – again, ever so slightly below where I wanted to be by now, but nothing to sneeze at :).

Today, my protagonist finally begun to realize how naive and, frankly, stupid they’ve been for the last year or so of their life.  Seriously, if this person actually bothered to learn about the world they live in (in particular the dominant species of said world besides humanity) then there would probably be no story.  If this person didn’t insist on keeping so many secrets, meanwhile, then there would definitely be no story.

Naturally, now that the protagonist has realized the above, it’s waaaaay too late for them to do anything about it.

On one hand, I think I might have overdone this a little.  On the other hand, I think these flaws make sense for my protagonist given their background: namely, they are fairly young – 16 – and have lived a rather cushy existence up until now, meaning that their thinking tends to be very short-term.  Doing either of things I mentioned on the above paragraph would lead to a lot of unwanted change, whether they consciously realize it or not, which is why they’ve put it off for so long.

Of course, there’s plenty of room for such a character to develop over the course of the story and they will indeed drastically change by the end.  Even so, I don’t think that the character is quite right yet. I do like the way they’re set to develop in my plan, so I don’t want to change anything too drastically…I suppose this is yet another thing I’ll look at in the second draft.

Any writers been having any character-related woes, lately?  Feel free to share below.


From → Blogging, Writing

  1. Congrats on the consistent writing! So your naive character has just realized that it’s about to hit the fan eh? Well just try to add more dimensions to the character to justify some of the actions to the reader. Keep it up!

    • Thanks :). And yeah, I’ll aim to do both those things. I certainly want the character’s behaviour to be justifiable to readers; I just hope it comes off that way once I’m done.

  2. Yay! Nine hundred is definitely a good average.

    Character-related woes? Well, I had one character start to turn a little evil. I managed to stop that, though, especially since he’s now my favorite—I don’t want him going evil on me! Add to that, my actual protagonist seems a little dull. I think I’ll have to develop his personality a lot more in a later draft. And my villain is really rather likable. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. I actually noticed that I’m writing this story more for the other characters than for my main character….. Hmm.

    • Stephen King writes that we should let our characters take them where they want to go, so if he wants to turn evil, consider letting him – might just make things easier. And I think a likeable antagonist is very good – it will ensure the readers sympathise with him and in the end they won’t be able to decide who they really want to win.

      • That’s very true. The only issue is that if he turned evil it would upset my plot. However, I do know that forcing a character into a type of personality that’s not there’s isn’t good—so what I did was just “distract” him from where his thoughts were going, so hopefully he never actually goes fully into “evilness”. Just have to hope it works….

        Yes, I think the way my antagonist fits into the story, she needs to be likable, so this is good. I really can’t wait for the ending, now. 🙂

      • I agree with kokkieh; a likable villain is definitely a good thing, as it will make the situation a lot more morally ambiguous. Maybe your new favorite could develop into an anti-hero of some sort; that way, you’ll hopefully be able to keep your plot as it is without railroading the character’s development.

        As for your protagonist…well, redrafting can solve absolutely everything :D.

  3. Kate is permalink

    If there were not so many dumbasses in the world, there would be nothing to write about. There has to be a learning arc. Congrats on your word count. Impressing 🙂

    • Agreed on the issue of the learning arc; if my protagonist had nothing to learn at the start, then I imagine the result would be a very boring story.

      Thanks for stopping over 🙂

  4. Sounds pretty realistic for a 16-year old. Remember that at that age you’re also incredibly self-centered. Teen more than toddlers believe the world revolves around them.

    Be careful of overdoing it, though. Such a character’s voice can become irritating over time.

    • Glad you think it sounds realistic. And yeah, I realize that it’ll get very annoying if I let it go on for too long; in later drafts, I’ll probably end up shortening the section I’m working on at the moment.

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