Coach Teresa, Does the Hero/Protagonist Always Want to Go Home?

In a classic tale, yes, the Hero wants to go home. Home represents familiarity, perhaps where loved ones are, perhaps safety. Warriors want to go  home; sailors want to go home; children want to go home.

But, what if Home doesn’t provide any of those comforts?

What about homeless people?  Where/What is home for these folks?

As a writing coach/manuscript consultant, I ask my clients this question: What does your Protagonist want?  You have to show me within the first five pages (if you’re writing a book) what he/she wants.  If you can show the initial “want” on page 1, that’s even better.

In The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, which characters want to go home? Who wants to go home, real bad.

August 8, 2011

Tonight, I was among thousands of protagonists in the San Francisco Bay Area who wanted to go home.  We were having a terrible time getting what we wanted, not because of a natural disaster or an accident.

I had gone into San Francisco to attend a wake. Oh I had the evening all plotted out. 1. Get to the mortuary by 5:00pm; sit in the back of the room and honor my friend’s father; give my friend a token of my prayers; have quiet time with my biggest angel-my mom.  2. Have dinner with my ex-sister-in-law.  3. Be on BART by 8:00pm, home by 9:00.

8:00pm came.  I was sad for my friend and her siblings; I was sad for my ex-sister-in-law. I wanted to go home.

On the BART platform, the digital signs weren’t showing the schedules.  A male voice from the P/A system announced: “Due to a problem with the central computer system, all trains are on hold at stations. We apologize for delays.”

I thought . . .  Oh well, I have a great book (I’m reading The Poisonwood Bible). They’ll fix their computer system, we’ll all be home late, but we’ll get there.  I am so tired, I just want to go home.

Every couple of minutes, the message about their computer system was repeated. Half an hour had passed.

I drank water with my dinner. I’m sure glad I’m not on a train.

Then, a thought crossed my mind–what if they can’t fix the system tonight?  And the people who are sitting/standing inside trains, stuck between stations–what would happen to them?

I talked to two other patrons.  “Maybe they’ll have maps and more information upstairs,” I said.  I left the platform and headed for the escalators to find a station agent. About thirty fellow BART patrons were doing the same thing.

There was no agent on duty.  I want to go home!


Teresa LeYung-Ryan says: “Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dreams!”

Coach Teresa’s YouTube Channel:

Coach Teresa is the author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days and Love Made of Heart.




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