Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Good Guy

What makes a good protagonist? Is he tall? Strong? Brave? Caring? Empathetic? Smart? Wise? Or combination's of all the above?


Currently, the "hero" of the story I'm writing is none of those things. Well, I guess he's fairly smart, but not any kind of genius. He's not a bad guy, he's just a normal guy whose life blew up on him.

I kind of like him. He's trying to do something good, even though his reasons for doing so are complicated. He honestly wants to save a child, his nephew, but his reasons are as unconsciously self serving as they are altruistic. He's being motivated as much by his flaws as his loyalties, and on some level he realizes that. He has to overcome some tremendous hurdles, and he has to deal with the fact that overcoming those hurdles is probably what's pushing him on.

His struggle is going to be with who he is, and who he wants to become, as much as it's going to be with the forces arrayed against him...and I like him for that.

Lets hope the readers do too, someday.


  1. Readers often do identify with a conflicted character who is honestly trying to do the right thing, even when his reasons are not all pure. How many of us, in anything we do, can say that our motives are purely altruistic, down to the core? We can't. We are all conflicted characters in our everyday life and we can sympathize with someone who has these same struggles - as long as he is generally a decent fellow.

  2. Yeah, my current protagonist isn't a "bad" guy or anything like that. He's just not a particularly "heroic" guy. Currently, I have him hiding in a linen closet while police try to stop the assassin who is shooting up a hospital while coming after him. Not necessarily a "bad" thing to do, but not exactly your square jawed act of heroics either.