It’s All About Your Protagonist, Part 3

It’s All About Your Protagonist, Part 3

Writing a Graphic Novel using Save the Cat

Okay, so your protagonist has problems and flaws that we can relate to or understand. That’s great, but we need something else. Something primal. Your protagonist must WANT to do something in other words. Protagonists’ wants or goals make up the main story. 

Batman wants to rid the world of crime after his parent’s murder in an alley. Spiderman wants to be responsible with his power. Luffy wants to find King Rogers’ treasure. Edward and Alphonse Elric want to find the philosopher stone. These popular characters had stories told for years, based on their want. The protagonist’s wants and goals can change over time. Without goals, your audience isn’t going to care about the problems.

The best thing about wants, other than that they can change, is that they give the readers something to cheer for. After all, the want is why the audience came to your webcomic, comic, or manga. The want or goal is something the protagonist thinks they need and that devotion attracts us. 

Don’t give your protagonist a weak want. Their goal should be something they feel will vindicate them. It needs to be something so important. Something the audience will buy in too. Look at your protagonist and their problems. Use those flaws and problems to provide a primal goal. Now you can build exterior problems to complicate those goals. 

No goals, no story. Period.

It’s All About the Protagonist, Part 2

It’s about your Protagonist, Part 2
Writing a Graphic Novel using Save the Cat
Problems, we all have them. We all deal with them in different ways. Some succeed in solving them. Others may run away or fail. Problems help us grow, for better or worse. Your protagonists need to be relatable. They need to have problems!
Their problem is a flaw that hinders them. For example, Batman can be too obsessed with a crime. Luffy isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. Problems and flaws are why we relate to characters. This is one of the reasons, arguably, why people don’t relate to Superman. He can do everything. We care more about Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.
Problems and flaws also manifest in ways that affect the protagonist’s decisions. The obstacles the protagonist’s faces are a direct result of their flaw. They provide road bumps so that the journey of the story isn’t easy.
When you analyze most protagonists in comics, they have some level of relatability. Most heroes are orphans to build empathy. This is what motivated them to pursue being a hero. Look at Spiderman. Losing his Uncle Ben forced him to learn about power and responsibility. That motto has been a burden on Peter. He has the pressures f his job, Mary-Jane, and Aunt May, often clashing with his Spiderman problems.
In the end, the problem your protagonist has or will face will draw your audience to care and you must have at least one.

It’s About the Protagonist, Part 1

Writing a Graphic Novel using Save the Cat

So, you’re ready to write a comic book, manga, or graphic novel. Great, so tell me who is your protagonist. Who is the story really about?  Your story needs a protagonist, one who the audience will cheer for and cry with. So, how do we go about creating a protagonist like Batman? Or maybe like Luffy from One Piece? Maybe, you don’t know who your protagonist is. Don’t worry, we’re going to cover what makes a great protagonist.

To make the audience care about your protagonist, you must give them problems, wants, and needs. These are crucial for building a protagonist who transforms throughout the story.

I created and wrote Favor of Athena, which I’m publishing through my company Terrio Jenkins  LLC. I have a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Full Sail University I also possess an Associate of Applied Science degree from Rowan College at Burlington County in graphic design. Character creation is difficult but can be fun. You need to be open to exploring different ways to make your protagonist unique, but similar to other protagonists.

In the next few posts, we will go more into detail about the three elements. First, we will discuss the problems or flaws of your protagonist because no one wants to read about a perfect hero…Yeah, we’re talking about you, Superman. After that, we will talk about the protagonist’s wants and goals, because we need to see their journey. Lastly, we will discuss their needs or the lessons they need to learn.