My Main Man

My Main Man: Character Study

Character, A Basic Element of Short Story

Most of the components involved in creating a successful short story can be traced to five basic elements. They are what we call, THE BASIC ELEMENTS of the SHORT-STORY

Character -Who the story is about.
Conflict-What central problem causes the action.
Setting-Where the action takes place.
Point of View-who is telling the story.
Theme-What the story is really about.

The most important element of the short story is character-the people the story is about. The main character of a story is called the protagonist. 

In the best stories, characters come alive. We care about their dreams, fears, and frustrations just as if they were real people in our own lives.

Characterization is the process by which authors communicate their characters to readers. Direct characterization occurs when the author tells readers about a character directly. Here's an example:

Dr. Smith was the meanest man in town.
Indirect-characterization lets readers draw their own conclusions from clues in the story, such as a character’s appearance, tone of voice, or behavior:

Dr. Smith laughed meanly and kicked a stray dog out of the way as he walked down the street.

When I think of all the main characters in my writings, I usually love him/her so much. I picture every detail of them. I want them to be human and vulnerable and especially to be hero-like in solving their own problems. So I ask myself, what is her most cherished belief? In other words, what does she value the most?

I ask myself, what does my main character want? What is standing in my protagonist’s way in achieving his dreams? But sometimes I reflect on books and movies that I’ve seen where the protagonist isn’t very likable. At the beginning, Scarlet O'Hara from Gone with the Wind acts horrible but at other times she seems so nice but there’s always that underlying motive.
Reflecting on great screenwriters, I’m thinking that anything that Tom Hanks plays in is real good, as the main character.

Can you think of a main character in a book that you didn’t like?

Sometimes the main character has a habit of doing whatever he wants to do but in writing, I’m creating him to do what I want him to do. I ask myself some more beneficial questions to develop his character like what is his greatest fear? I decide what are his strengths and weaknesses.

I continue with creating more layers to my main character in the story. What is the worst thing that can happen to my character and why? And finally, what is the internal conflict he will need to overcome? 

Now, I have my character outline in place and a magazine picture of what he/she looks like. My story is beginning because I have taken the time to build my leading character, my man!
Leave a comment, sharing how you go about developing your protagonist, if you want.

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." C. S. Lewis

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