“No, you can’t be a protagonist…”

Sometimes they stretch my patience a little thin. My characters, I mean. They have a lot of demands and petty complaints that they have no problem bringing up at all hours of the night when I desperately need sleep so as not to push my heart to the limits of its coffee tolerance in the morning. Not only do they have no respect for beauty sleep, day jobs and looming caffeine poisoning, but they seem to have little to no understanding of logical plots, conflict resolution or basic reader desires.

What I’m trying to get at is: my characters are horrendously selfish.

So when Alessandro said today that he wanted his own novel in which he was the MC, it was a little shamefully rewarding to tell him, “No, that’s impossible. You can have your own story, but you can’t be the protagonist. You are an antagonist”.

When he asked what ludicrous rule disqualified him from the protagonist role, it was my painful duty to inform him that protagonists do not, by and large, throw dinner guests to the table and crave out their hearts for not paying.

“I’m positive this rule is not as absolute as you make it seem.” He answered.

“No, but if you’re going to be a protagonist you’re going to need a more compelling reason to do so than just ‘I’m bat-shit-insane’.”

“Says who?”

“You’ll also need some sort of growth as a character. I was under the impression that you’d rather not metamorphose in any direction from your current state.”

This had him silent for a moment.

“I couldn’t just be an edgy, shocking protagonist for the sake of it?”


“I see. But I could be an edgy, shocking antagonist just for the sake of it?”

“Well, no, not really but it would be easier for me to bluff through it if you were an antagonist.”

He nodded once and I could see that the matter was settled for him. I was free to do the housecleaning.



4 thoughts on ““No, you can’t be a protagonist…”

  1. Reblogged this on Alex Hurst and commented:
    My girlfriend, who happens to be an extremely intelligent, wickedly creative and well-humored writer, has just started her own blog. Take a look at her first post, in which she discusses why a certain character of hers can’t be a protagonist.

  2. Dear A,

    Late last night or early this morning, my muse all but told me that I would outlive Mick Jagger and Joni Mitchell and so many other voices that helped to build me. It is almost morning now, pink rosey and a warm dawn comes and those thoughts flee like night creatures.. So I do best when I listen to the voices, open the door aa little wider and record what I see and hear. I wish I had the control over the muse to tell them to visit when I have slept, when my job is done or my plate is empty. I just don’t posses that, that oh the word eludes me from the hour and refuses to bubble to the surface) but is is control, set times, appointed times to call the force that let’s you talk with your character

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