The Key to a Great Story – The Hopeful/Determined Protagonist

The Key to a Great Story – The Hopeful/Determined Protagonist

I can’t really separate hopeful and determined from each other. Your character might be one or the other, or they might be both. They are however quite similar characters to create, because as a basic attribute they have optimism that they can make the world a better place. These are usually the characters can see glasses that are half full and light at the end of the tunnel.

In a way they are similar to naïve protagonists, but in reality hopeful/determined Protagonists might have a great deal more to lose. They may believe that they know what they are doing and when they are proved wrong, or encounter set backs, their emotional journeys and character developments become some of the best stories to want to both read and write.

If you separate out the hopeful from the determined, the emotional backlash that they can suffer when they encounter a setback can be crushing to them. It might alter their perspective of the world around them and their goals might now seem impossible to achieve. Even being able to survive their world might now seem very difficult to manage; I doubt anyone who has read ‘The Perks of a Being a Wallflower’ could forget the crushing demise of Charlie once he remembers the details of his past.


If your character though is more determined than hopeful having a setback might actually just make them all the more determined to succeed. A great example is Leia Organa in Star Wars; her home planet might be destroyed but it does not stop her from being absolutely determined to overthrow the empire. Then there is Katniss Everdeen, who becomes all the more determined to win after the death of Rue.

The way in which you develop a hopeful and determined character is very much up to you, but it is perhaps most important that with this type of protagonist you understand as fully as possible the emotional triggers of your characters. It is also very important that the relationship your characters have with the supporting characters is strong and very well formed, as your characters might require the very best of support in order to bounce back, if indeed they can.


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