Character Coups

Posted: February 20, 2015 in graffiti living
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Have you had enough of your main characters?

Are they dull, uninteresting, or just too similar to each other?

It’s time for a revolution.

If your main characters are too similar you can change them or use their faults to your advantage.

Make them different, set them against each other, or just look for other oddballs that stand out more than they do and use them instead.

For example, say your protagonists have become like male and female versions of the same character.

This has great story potential.

Turn it around, make it into a blessing rather than a curse.

Make it an issue in the plot that needs to be resolved — they’re related, or they’re clones, or they literally have become the same person.

Whatever.

One way or another, they have to resolve this — be that with a nice cosy fireside chat over a cuppa about their family tree, or a fight to the death over which personality is dominant.

When you started out you may have thought that you knew who the main character was.

But there’s nothing wrong with changing it.

Audition your characters.

Take a look at what you’ve written — is there a secondary character, or even a passerby, who stands out?

Who is far more interesting and exciting (to you) than your main character?

Who you want to find out more about?

GOOD — that’s probably why you put them there.

Time to let them come to the fore.

So how do you replace your main character?

That’s up to you.

You could:

Kill them off so that someone else has to step in (Liam Neeson in Star Wars);

Just stop writing about them and shout “The protagonist has left the building” (You know, like Elvis);

Make them take second place in the plot or even become a side-kick (Batman gets the sack or Robin gets promoted).

No matter what you decide — like crappy relationships, if you’ve had enough and done everything that you can, then it’s time to move on.

But, unlike relationships, don’t let them down gently.

Get rid of them with style and creativity.

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