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Friday, March 26, 2021

Stupid Protagonists Annoy Readers

The protagonist who is home alone with a bad cold, hears a rustling sound from the lower floor and, instead of calling 911 or acting logically to the danger, sets off to investigate the darkened basement with a butcher knife. At this point, your reader starts groaning out loud. Don't send your character into danger without a thought to the consequences; instead, make certain that she takes appropriate action. Perhaps she attempts to dial for help, but discovers that the criminal has cut the phone wires. Or, she can attempt to escape, but then he's suddenly looming at the door, blocking her way. The lesson here is that when the going gets tough, a protagonist fights back to the best of her ability.

Jessica Page Morrell, Between the Lines, 2006

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