Monday, April 19, 2010

Focus on Your Protagonist

“Focus your story not on what happens but on the character to whom it happens.” -- Chris Roerden in “Publishing Industry Veteran Shares Tips for Authors” [Writers’ Journal, March/April 2010]
I submitted a story to two magazines two weeks ago. Both editors rejected it. One provided some helpful insights as to why. I resubmitted the story to him this week, and he accepted it. What made the difference? In the first version, I flinched when it came time to end the story. What I wrote was vague and unrealistic. I had dodged the real issue. The second ending came to me after I put myself in my protagonist’s place and said directly what I only hinted at in the first version. In other words, I wrote the ending while focused on “the character to whom it happens.” It’s hard to get into our characters heads at times, but it can make a big difference to the reader when we do.

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