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August 9th, 2006, 07:39 AM
I am working on a short story and I am noticing early on that my protagonist is passive. Events and people are acting upon her and dictating her actions. Is this acceptable? Does this work? Should I find a different POV? Is it possible to have her passive in the beginning of the story and "develop" into a dynamic character?

Thanks in advance...

August 9th, 2006, 07:57 AM
Is this acceptable?


Does this work?

Depends on how you write it.

Should I find a different POV?

A protagonist isn't always a point-of-view character, and a point-of-view character isn't always a protagonist.


Sherlock Holmes stories: Sherlock Holmes = protagonist; Dr. Watson = PoV

Moby Dick: Captain Ahab = Protagonist; Ishmael = PoV

You can't have her not be the protagonist without changing the plot, but you can easily have someone else as the PoV character.

Is it possible to have her passive in the beginning of the story and "develop" into a dynamic character?


August 9th, 2006, 02:49 PM
Good enough, thanks...:D

August 10th, 2006, 12:45 PM
Read where the writer Karl Edward Wagner thought protags were often too passive, always responding to the actions of the villian. So he created Kane, an anti-hero.

Tried to get my own protags to initiate more, but it is sometimes tough. Think it does make the protag more interesting. Having this situation now. The villian is more powerful, so I'm trying to get the protag to goad the villian into acting a certain way, as opposed to the vilian setting the conflict entirely.

Not sure whether the general reader recognizes or cares about it, however.

August 10th, 2006, 02:13 PM
I think it comes down to a question of motivation. A passive character is one who is motivated by events that happen to him or her in the story. The obstacle this presents, especially in the beginning, is that something has to happen right away. Otherwise your character has no purpose and this will make it difficult for the reader to be drawn into the story.