More writer's conference notes. On characters. Mostly the protagonist. This could open trouble. I might go on and on for a week about characters. :)
Frank Ball called the character (the main one), "A hero whose desire matters most."
This is the person whose eyes we will see most of the story in, and if your story is in first person than more than likely we'll be in this person's head the whole time. But who is the protagonist? Every writer knows who the side characters like to steal the spotlight. Spotlight stealing is okay for a few pages or scenes. But if they're stealing the whole show, then perhaps is it their story instead?
At the conference, Ball taught that the protagonist is the one who changes the most in the story. There must be some sort of change in the main character. I'm not entirely sure I agree with that. There are classics out there where it's more about the character remaining the same and how all the other characters change because of the protagonist's influence. Jeff Gerke talked about this at a seminar of his I attended. The two examples he gave were Anne of Green Gables, and the New Testament. Anne Shirley changes little. And Jesus doesn't change ever. The story is about their impact on the other characters.
The story is to be told through the protagonists eyes, for the most part. If your writing in third person or maybe even two first person POVs, or third and first person (*applause* for the brave people out there), then you have a great option to write from other characters' point of view (POV, maybe I need to state what the acronym stands for? I'll talk about it more soon). In the mentoring workshops we were given a long list of things to brainstorm for our characters. I found these two very interesting:
Have someone ever told you that you have a certain characteristic or quality that you would have never attributed to yourself? This has happened to me often. People often see us differently than we see ourselves. Sometimes they are more accurate, and sometimes both accounts, no matter how different, are accurate in certain situations. So when writing from another character's POV, they may have very different thoughts than the character thinks of himself. Maybe he thinks he's all that, but his love interest thinks he's dweeby. Or maybe he considers himself awkward and maybe even geeky, but others see him as cool.
Here's some other things to think about when developing characters:
What is the lie they believe?
What is their comfort zone?
What is something they would never do?
So the protagonist is the character whose desire matters the most in the story. That desire is what moves the story and creates the plot, in ways. The protagonist's desire is his Objective, the next point of SCOOP IT UP.
All photos from morguefile.com