Tag Archive - protagonist

5 Characteristics of the Perfect Murder Mystery Hero

Today’s post is by screenwriter Neil Chase.

There are many important elements to a successful murder mystery, but the hero is arguably the most important.

This character needs to be someone that readers can root for and sympathize with. How to do that? Let’s take a look at the 5 most important characteristics of a murder mystery hero.

  1. The perfect murder mystery hero is brilliant (in a unique way)

When it comes to creating a great murder mystery protagonist, one quality is essential: intelligence. An intelligent hero is able to use their quick wit and sharp mind to piece together clues and solve the mystery. They see things others do not and connect the dots in unusual ways.

Here are a few tips for creating a brilliant murder mystery hero:

  • Give your hero a backstory that explains why they’re drawn to solving puzzles in general and murders specifically. Perhaps they witnessed a crime as a child or have personal experience with loss. This will help make them more relatable and sympathetic.
  • Make your hero’s intelligence apparent from the start. Before the case even starts, give us a taste of what they can do and how their mind is superior to those around them.
  • Once the case is on, they should be able to see through lies and spot clues that others would miss.
  • Give your hero plenty of obstacles to overcome. The more difficult the mystery, the more satisfying it will be for readers when your hero finally solves it.
  1. They are always willing to help solve the crime, even if it means putting their own life at risk

The perfect murder mystery hero is always willing to help solve the crime, even if it means putting their own life at risk. They are clever and resourceful, able to piece together seemingly disparate clues to uncover the killer’s identity, but they are also cool under pressure and maintain their composure in the face of danger in order to catch the culprit. Above all, they are driven by a strong sense of justice, determined to uncover the murderer no matter what the cost. Continue Reading…

The Intersection of Character Transformation and Moral Dilemma

The protagonist’s transformational journey is highlighted in countless stories, whether novels, movies, or plays. If you take time to examine some of your favorite stories, you should be able to identify key scenes or moments in which this transformation gradually takes place. It’s the events that transpire that erode the persona and emphasize to the character that living in that identity isn’t working.

People don’t change overnight; it’s a process. And when we write a story, we want that process to be believable. While there are six stages in the process, you might have a dozen or more scenes in which your character’s beliefs, opinions, and biases are challenged, one bit at a time.

What Theme Really Is

Keep in mind this truth: the theme of your story is your character’s inner motivation made universal. What drives him, what plagues him, what consumes him is what propels him toward the visible goal.

These key transformational scenes with your protagonist are the ones that will shine a light on the themes of your story.

Consider the movie Hostiles, which I explored in another post. The title itself implies the theme and poses the moral dilemma Capt. Blocker faces. Who truly is the hostile?

The question Blocker asks himself, essentially, is this: “How am I all that different from those I hate?” In asking that question, consciously or subconsciously, the theme is brought to the forefront. Continue Reading…

Getting to Know Your Protagonist

 Today’s guest post is by Steven-John Tait.

If you’ve ever struggled to get under the skin of your protagonist, don’t lose hope. This post tells how mine went from a protagonist I couldn’t relate to to someone so real to me that I felt guilty about finishing the novel and therefore his existence.

Here’s my experience from initial inspiration to the creative processes I used, and my eventual breakthrough and tips you can apply to your own work.

On vacation in a town in North Brazil, I was drinking a beer at one of many beachside bars, when I noticed a haggard man walking between the tables and chairs trying to catch anyone’s eye. It was obvious he was looking for someone to take advantage of. Nobody returned his gaze except me.

He sat down across from me and asked the waiter for a beer and a cachaça. The waiter looked to me for approval because we both knew that I’d be the one paying. I couldn’t understand much of what my guest said because my Portuguese hardly gets me from A to B, but he interested me, as did the faded tattoos over his arms and the white lines he’d drawn on himself using acid from cashew nut shells. Continue Reading…

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