- self-educated & super-educated; knows a variety of languages
- logical and rational
- active --> chooses actions carefully but unafraid to act upon them
- stoic: didn't cry out when hurt; fell silently from the ocean liner into the ocean
- loyal -- even in the face of death or pain
- chooses right over might, regardless of his own physical strength
- understands the law of the jungle: some must die; sometimes you must kill or be killed
- a Renaissance man of sorts: educated & rationale, self-sufficient & independent; an active participant in his own life
Okay. So all of these apply to my father as well.
I think I was supposed to choose traits like compassion, honestly, courage, standing up for what's right even when it's hard...
But enough about me. Back to writing, we find that the problem with many novels is that you can't identify with the protagonist. You don't care if they live or die or achieve their goals. The following are steps Maass outlined in the workshop. I'm counting on Dave or Patrick to flesh out anything I don't make clear.
1. Add Heroic Qualities: Show a strength within the first five pages. Without this, we just don't have a reason to care. Even the darkest, most ennui-filled, and bottom-feeding scoundrel needs these redeeming characteristics. Explore your own hero & inject those attributes.
2. Add Extra Character Dimensions: Jot down the opposite traits, then weave them into the character. Reveal weaknesses, variety, opposites, anything conflicting and contrasting. Surprise us, keep us off balance and intrigued.
3. Create Inner Conflict: You must take risks, going where it's uncomfortable. Make the conflict strong, dramatic, uncomfortable -- show your protagonist torn between his/her greatest desire and its opposite.
4. Raise the Personal Stakes: The story doesn't matter until it matters to the character. When it matters to the character, it matters to the reader. How can you make the conflict matter even more? make it even more deeply personal?
5. Raise the Public Stakes: How can the problem get worse? How can the antagonist gain strength? Get help? How can more people within the novel be impacted? How can you lessen the time factor in order to create a greater sense of urgency? Under what circumstances would your protag actually fail to solve the conflict? Take him/her there. See what happens.
How do you flesh out a character? How do you make your audience care? What are your experiences with your characters?