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How to Introduce your Protagonist

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Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:29 am
Zekkie876 says...

Lately I've been having trouble introducing my main character. One problem that's bugged me was that I couldn't really describe him/her properly. Getting all the facial angles, hair, build, and other important features is a tad bit difficult, and since I aim to be a highly descriptive writer, this can prove to be a problem.
I'll accept anything you throw at me!

Also, I have a story called Hero Reincarnate in the Fantasy Novels forum. Its still the first chapter, and I've been working on it for a few months. Read it, and maybe you can see some of the problems. Thanks!

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Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:11 pm
Rosendorn says...

First and foremost: Do not introduce them with description.

Introduce a protagonist with conflict. Show them doing something interesting. Starting with description is a way to have the reader ask "why should I keep reading?" and close the book. Especially if you put in a huge block.

Instead, slowly sprinkle in description as the character does things. Avoid a block of description as much as you possibly can. Also, try to only give description when you need to give description, to avoid having unnecessary description.

Hope this helps.

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Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:59 pm
MagnusBane says...

This might be a little hard to believe... but your readers don't want a ton of description. It's much better to only get a few general details about a character than to get a huge list of all of their characteristics, right down to the mole on their arm and their slightly crooked nose. Endless details only bog down the action, and, for me at least, they actually make it harder to imagine what the character looks like. Give the reader a few details, spread out over the course of your first few chapters, and they'll be able to take those and make their own picture of the character.

Introducing the protagonist is something that I've struggled with a little, too. I've found that the best way to begin a story is to just, you know, begin it. Start with your main character in the middle of a situation or some conflict. Let the reader learn about them as the action unfolds. Not only will this be a better introduction than a bunch of meaningless description, it will also attract and hold your audience's attention.

This can be a hard skill to master. The best to do is to keep practicing writing, especially beginnings.

“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Anton Chekhov

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Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:21 pm
Stori says...

One method is to begin in the middle of the story. Then the conflict and protagonist are introduced both at once.

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Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:31 am
purplegirl14 says...

You can have a little bit of description of your character at the begining, but most people don't like a lot.

Here is one thing not to do: "Hi, my name's Crayola Color. I live with my mom, brothers, and little sister. I have never met my dad. I have black hair down to the small of my back, and a nose that is too small. My eyes are blue with specs of brown." Sorry about how bad that is and about the name(a box of colored pencils is right next to me :smt003 ), but you should get the general idea. just saying everything up front is kind of boring.

Try to find ways to add in details as you go. Maybe they are brushing their fizzy hair out, or adding blush to their pale face. As you are writing, different opportunities will pop up. And all of the description doesn't have to be in the first chapter. Actually, I would recommend that it isn't; readers can get bored knowing everything right away. Slowly develop your character. You may have an idea in your head now, but as you write, it may change some, so just go slow.

Hope this helped some. Good luck with you descriptions!

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