I’m sure this answer varies from reader to reader, and from writer to writer. But a good protagonist is a character that makes hard decisions, faces conflict more than once, and has a relatable disposition.
What makes a bad protagonist?
In my earlier work, when I was first starting out, I had a hard time understanding how to construct my protagonist. After years of writing, I've discovered that a bad character is someone that’s unrelatable, solutions to conflict magically work out in their favor each time, and he/she travels from scene to scene without anything substantial taking place. That last one is also a part of a dreary plot, but I contribute it to the character as well.
What can you do if your protagonist feels flat?
To have a well-rounded character, make sure he/she has reasons behind each move they make. Reasons that tie deep into their history, situation, and above all, reasons that are believable.
Conflict is key!
If your protagonist only faces one or two major conflicts throughout the whole book, the story can be quite boring. Your story doesn’t have to be suspenseful, but conflict and stakes fall hand-in-hand with your main character. The conflict your protagonist faces can be as simple as a stressful first kiss, the confrontation with a secret without the ability for him/her to tell anyone, or being faced with the very thing your protagonist's is scared of (phobias).
If you find that you’re rehashing the same details over and over again in every scene, add a layer of conflict with something new to make it interesting.
Can you tell I love conflict? And I hate boring reads.
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