September 23, 2019

Protagonist are Needed

By Laurel Thomas

Every story needs a good hero. The flawed one we love to root for. You know who I mean, the one who faces a challenge and comes out stronger on the other end.

Even a superhero has a weakness. Maybe he’s misunderstood or misjudged in an ordinary world where he just doesn’t fit. Worse, a malevolent creep lurks nearby with a handful of kryptonite. We get it. We may not have super powers, but we understand when everything seems to contend against our writing progress. 

The writer’s journey is like crafting my own personal breakout novel. I’m center stage as the main character, whether as superhero or ordinary joe. No matter how I profess stage fright, those blinding lights appear every time I present an article to be published, a story to be read, or a blogpost to be shared.

External conflict is a given. Children, aging parents or another job require my attention.  Health issues or financial stress may plague me or a loved one. Maybe I’m just tired!

Then there’s the ever-present internal conflict. Like when my work is challenged, criticized or rejected. Unless the mortgage counts on what I produce in a writing business, I’m tempted to say, Hey, I’ll stick to my day job. But wait, writing IS my day job.

It’s all about growth in the guise of change. Here’s an excerpt from the mind of Missy, my main character in River’s Call. Missy wasn’t sure how change worked. Maybe when pain got real bad, some kind of chemical reaction took place in the gut and traveled to the head. People she knew never really changed. Her, most of all.

Change is the growth option I love to hate. And often pressure is what brings me to that pivotal decision to move forward in a new aspect of the craft – or stop. And get mad. And refuse the chance to become the superhero I’m destined to be at the end of my story.

The final destination of my journey is made up of all those little decisions. Its crafted in the fire of ineptitudes and insufficiencies I’ve had to face and say, Okay, let’s learn something new. Let’s add to this tool box of writing. Let’s grow instead of quit.

At some point, my quest is finally met. I’ve tossed paper airplane after paper airplane into the atmosphere of publication and visibility. When my love of the craft turns to angst, I remember this is about more than passion. It’s about more than gritting my teeth and getting it done.

It’s about change…in me.

Like my favorite protagonist, I won’t exit my own story. I’m crafting the ending and decided it’s a good one!
A former high school English teacher, Laurel Thomas loves words and their power to convey story. She’s written for inspirational magazines including Guideposts, ghosted nonfiction and delved into her favorite playground – fiction. In her position as general administrator for Write Well, Sell Well in Oklahoma City, she supports multi-published professionals who equip writers for success through conferences and weekend intensives. Check out her website at

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