Why protagonists need to be active

Nathan Bransford, one of TVWriter™’s favorite writers – and writing consultants – is here to tell us everything we need to know about creating heroes that work.

Now this is one active protagonist indeed!

by Nathan Bransford

I’ve been on a “story essentials” kick lately as I work my way through the latest round of revisions for my new novel.

One of the big weaknesses in the last draft: my protagonist wasn’t active enough through the second act of the book.

It is so crucial to keep a protagonist active throughout the entire novel. They can’t just want something, they need to be actively going after it.

Here’s why.

Readers invest in a character trying to get what they want

The whole reason we start caring about characters in the first place is because we want them to get what they want. We become invested in their quest, we become sympathetic to their journey and fascinated by how they try to overcome their obstacles.

It’s extremely difficult to care about a character who either doesn’t want anything or isn’t doing enough to shape their own destiny.

Along those lines…

If a supporting character is driving the action it will start to feel like their novel

Sometimes novels can get away from a protagonist. If someone else is making all the key decisions and pushing everything forward: it will start to feel more like that character’s novel.


Read it all at Nathan Bransford’s super helpful blog

Check out Nathan’s new book