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Writing Tips: What's wrong with a passive protagonist?

After more than ten years of reading manuscripts and writing reports on them, I have noticed that passivity was overwhelmingly the commonest feature of the protagonist.

Often, the protagonist had no goal. But even when they did have a goal, they did nothing to try and get it.


Three writers discuss plot thumbscrews

I love a plot thumbscrew. This is an event where two or more storylines intersect and the difficulty escalates for the protagonist – they find it much harder to get what they want. Characters and their attendant storylines meet all the time in a narrative, but the difference is that a plot thumbscrew escalates the difficulty.


Three writers discuss what makes a good antagonist

An antagonist is a broader and more complex idea than a villain. A villain acts for purely selfish reasons and does destructive things with no consideration for the effect they will have on others. A villain is wicked. A villain is unable to change and grow. An antagonist, on the other hand, is a character who pursues a certain goal in the story.


Writing Tips: Psychic death

If a story is to work properly, the main character needs a strong goal and they must do everything they can to reach it. Everything they do to get what they want creates plot.