My Protagonist is Doing Things She Shouldn’t: Camp NaNoWriMo Day 28

Camp NaNoWriMo Day 28!

Recently, I went back through spiral-bound stories I created when I was eight. It was entertaining to see drawings of flowers with superpowers and every other character named Ashely (actual spelling).

However, going through my earliest writing helped me learn something about my own current writing style. In these old stories, the “Ashely” was almost always an ideal version of myself. She wasn’t me, but she was who I wanted to be at the time. And she had no flaws.

She didn’t make mistakes, either. In each story’s climax, the first thing she tried to do to solve the problem was always successful.

Since then, I’ve learned the importance of internal conflict and throwing my characters into situations they don’t always believe they can get out of. But I still sometimes feel myself holding back and making sure my protagonist is okay.

We need to know that our characters will not always be okay. They can face moral dilemmas and not know which way to go. They can experience depression and anxiety like us. They can make mistakes. Our stories become more interesting with these realistic complexities.

I’m trying to learn that I am not my character’s protector. My job is to throw things at her so she can struggle – and maybe succeed – but ultimately grow.

Today’s haiku:

I'm rooting for you
My little protagonist
Facing my fiction

Published by laurenhallstrom

Lauren is the author of two CIPA EVVY award-winning novels, both written when she was a teen. She writes contemporary fantasy for tweens and young adults. She holds an undergraduate degree in English at Colorado State University and currently works in a public library. More often than not you can find her there - promoting lifelong learning, staring off into space, and dreaming up new stories.

One thought on “My Protagonist is Doing Things She Shouldn’t: Camp NaNoWriMo Day 28

  1. I myself have found that I tend to throw an ungodly amount of problems at my protagonist, only to realise that they’re turning into a punching bag of sorts. I guess that’s what you get when you pants your way through a novel and write each chapter as if it’s a standalone short story. Thanks for sharing this!


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