Posts Tagged ‘Ask your protagonist “Who are you?”’

Dear Writers,

Coach Teresa here . . . to encourage you to ask your protagonist “Who are you?”  and show up (with your writing instruments) so that she/he can answer your question over time.

Over time–You create the magical bond between you and your characters.

Whether the story is being presented as fiction or nonfiction . . .  Ask yourself:  “What incident shook my world (or someone I care about‘s world) and I must tell the story.”

With memoirs, the author and Protagonist are YOU. You ask yourself: “What happened to me?”  “How do I tell my story to hook Reader?” My answer is this: “You as Protagonist–stay in story-world. Move about in your story as though you do not know the ending. ‘Grow’ with yourself in story-world. No interjecting commentary from the author that would take us out of story-world. Let us see your story unfold as it happened. After all, you experienced the story in real life; to give us editorial comments as the “experienced one” will usually give the effect that an actor is stepping in front of the camera to interrupt (while the story is being played out in Reader’s mind’s eyes).

With novels, you created the protagonist.  Perhaps he/she was modeled after yourself; even if that weren’t the case, you the author get under his/her skin. Because you are writing fiction, you have the luxury of changing the sequence of events and the specifics of the events. Novel authors also must not interrupt the story with editorial comments that aren’t apropos for the plot point.

“What incident shook my world (or someone I care about‘s world) and I must tell the story.” In my novel Love Made of Heart, something happened to Protagonist Ruby Lin’s mother.  When Ruby finds out what has shaken her mother’s world, her own world also get jolted.

I’m reading Mary Jo McConahay’s memoir Maya Roads: One Woman’s Journey Among the People of the Rainforest and being hooked by her prologue.  The author was fascinated by an exhibit in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. So fascinated that she went back to the museum the next day to look at the representations of the indigenous Lacandón people, descendants of the ancient Maya.  “I must go there,” she told her sister.

I’m on page 7 of Mary Jo’s book–she has just met Moises Morales, an archaeoastronomer (one who studies ancient beliefs about the sky). I’m intrigued.

Coach Teresa Says To Ask My Protagonist: “Who Are You?”

Happy writing! Happy reading and researching! Happy rewriting!

If you need a story-consultant/editor, please review my webpage by clicking on this link.


Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

“Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dearest dreams!”
author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days


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