And Now, a Question on Varying Protaganists

by Christine
(Dallas, Texas, US)

Question: Thank you for answering my previous question about plotting out a story framed around two time frames, but now I have a new question for you.

I literally just realized that, as I was originally trying to figure out the plot of my story, I was so busy with that my two protagonist characters are nearly exactly the same.

As I was analyzing this, I realized that pretty much all of the protagonists I have ever written are basically the same people with different quirks attached. With this story, The two protagonists are nearly EXACTLY the same. Only differences being back story and...age. That's about it. I think it's because they were both inspired by the same character - Arsene Lupin - and I want to stick to that vibe, but I don't want to have two of the same person running around. Even if it is in two time frames, the world has ENOUGH of him, thank you.

I will appreciate your reply, thank you.

Answer: I think you have essentially answered your own question.

If your protagonists are too similar and there is no reason for them to be similar (like one is the reincarnation of the other), then you need to change one of them.

If you have worked out a separate story goal for your two story lines (past and present), then you might ask yourself what type of person would be uniquely suited to make the right choice to achieve each goal (assuming you want a successful outcome). Of course, you can also choose an apparently unlikely protagonist who nonetheless has a hidden talent/trait that makes them suitable.

Working backwards in this way, you might then look at what motivations, beliefs, purposes in life each may possess. What type of problem-solving approaches do they bring to the problem?

You might look at their social background. What connections do they have? What education, class, friends, status, jobs they've held etc. can help/hinder them? The fact that they are products of different times, different environments will make a difference in their outlook and the opportunities they've had.

I'm sure you will have no trouble introducing enough changes to make them different.

All that aside, you might want them to share at least one essential trait, since you are writing a story about parallel events.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Character Invite.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero