- Give them a flaw. Pride. Selfishness. Cowardliness. Whatever is broken in your protagonist should be cured through the course of the story. However…
- Don’t make them flawed in EVERYTHING. One flaw is enough for the story to fix. He can have other positive character traits.
- Give them a false goal to show change. By the time your character reaches their goal, she realize its shallowness. (Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and Up incorporate a false goal.)
- Give them hard choices and allow them to fail. This increases tension and also shows what they value.
- Your character needs a goal. This goal can be internal or external, but ideally, it should be both.
- Avoid passive characters. Is your character merely reacting to events around them? Instead, your character should drive the story forward by his actions.
- Use description to reveal more about your character. How your character describes a setting says a lot about her.
- Show their character. If you have to tell me your character is funny, he’s not funny.
- Show how your character reacts under pressure. Don’t establish your character and then put her in a difficult situation. That’s boring and takes twice as long.
What ways do you define your protagonist?