September 24, 2020

Using Emotional Depth in Creating your Protagonist.

 Susan Reichert

Do you create your protagonist with an emotional depth?

In other words, do they have the capacity to interpret feelings and sensitivity and respond to the feelings that arise both in themselves and others?

Perhaps the question is do you create in your character (protagonist) empathy? The ability to understand and share the feelings of another?

If their emotional dept is low, it most likely will prevent your character to give support to others in the stories; perhaps they will not be able to develop a strong intimacy with others or resolve conflicts. The characters we create need to be able to steer major crises.  By having low emotional depth your character (protagonist) has a good chance turning out to be shallow and your reader will lose interest and not be a fan of the character.

It is important we create a protagonist our readers will love, and sometimes in that relationship between the reader and the protagonist, you will find there is also hate. Yes, sometimes the reader may hate the protagonist for something he does or does not do. That is okay, they are vested in the character.

What drives our protagonist? Internal motivation. It always must come from within the character to make the character push through to achieve what is important to them. It can be a want, hope or fear, but it must be defined clearly to the character. This is what spurs the character on when he/she is at a low point.

A protagonist is not passive he/she is active. This is one of the reasons we love the James Bond books by Ian Fleming.

Be sure you stack some odds against your protagonist and throw in some mistreatment…think of Cinderella, written by Charles Perrault how she was mistreated by her step-mother and step-sisters and the odds against her to even get near the prince to try the shoe on.


Happy Writing.

Susan Reichert is  the director of Southern Author Services and and Suite T. She is also the retired Editor-in-Chief of Southern Writers Magazine.

She is the author of God's Prayer Power and Storms In Life.

She and her husband Greg live in Tennessee.