25 Reasons I Hate Your Main Character
The protagonist helps to shape the story through her actions. It’s just how she rolls. Only problem is when the reverse ends up being true: the story forever pushes the character. It’s like in a boxing match — some boxing matches are dreadfully one-sided, with one poor sod taking a limitless pummeling, his head looking like a Ziploc baggy full of ground bison. That’s not a good mode for your story. Your protagonist should not be constantly on the ropes. Sure, the inciting incident might demand reaction (“My daughter was kidnapped by angry polecats! To action!”), but the character must have or claim agency for herself. I despise characters who never grab the reins of the story, not even by the tale’s end.
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18. Atlas Pooped
A character is more than just his philosophies. We are not the sum total of our beliefs. We have friends and family. Hopes and dreams. Secret plans and bizarre sexual peccadilloes requiring an oil drum full of egg whites and Abe Vigoda in a too-tight wetsuit. If your character fails to possess those things and is just a mouthpiece for his (or worse, your) belief systems, then I will come to your house and beat you about the head, neck and butthole with a copy of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
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