Red Lettering

Stories will not be written easily. A story without a heart is dead, and the only place it will get a heart is from the author.

Get To Know Your Characters Challenge – Protagonist

Happy Tuesday, readers. For those of you concerned that this post signals the end of all character interviews on Red Lettering, don’t worry. We’ll resume the normal posting schedule with character interviews two weeks from today.

Today, though, seemed like a good day to test-run an idea of mine. Somehow, it seemed fitting to do it on a character interview day, not only because everybody gets excited about character interviews and I hope to have people look at this, but because in a way, I get to do something similar to interviewing all of your characters.


Get to know your characters challenge protagonistEven though tags and challenges abound in the blogging community, very few focus on what we writers do best: write. Occasionally, people will do character and writing-related tags, but those are few and far between. And so, I thought, what if there was a challenge to help writers develop their writing skills while learning more about their characters?

What if there was a challenge on someone’s blog where people would be challenged to pick a couple of options from a list, and write about their protagonist’s past?

Here’s How it Works

If you’re willing to participate, pick one or more challenges from the list below and post your completed snippet-type stories about your protagonists on your blog this coming Monday (July 28). Steal the picture and leave a link back here, and leave a comment on this post sometime between now and Sunday with the link to your blog. I’ll include a list of all participating blogs with links when I post my challenge snippets on Monday.


The List

  • Write  about your protagonist from when he or she was between three and ten. Write something short that represents how their life was that point.
  • Write about your protagonist celebrating a major holiday, such as Christmas or New Year’s Day.
  • Write about a major turning point in your character’s life: the death of a loved one, a point where they find out a secret that changes their life, ect.
  • Write about a year before the adventure started.
  • Write about interaction with a childhood friend–while in childhood, or what would happen when the two met again after several years of not seeing each other.
  • Write about when your character first interacted with your villain. (This for those who have already met their villains.)

Interested? Want to get to know your protagonist better and exercise your writing muscles? Want to absolutely make my day? I’d absolutely love to have you participate. The longer the list of participating blogs posted on Monday, the better.

Note: Those of you who don’t have blogs, but would like to participate anyway, can leave their challenge snippets in the comments on this post or the other.

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8 thoughts on “Get To Know Your Characters Challenge – Protagonist

  1. Emily Fisher on said:

    Hi! This sounded so cool so I decided to try it! Here’s my entry!

    The sun warmed my face and the grass felt cool beneath my bare feet. I was following my seven year old sister Elise who was only three years older than me as she brought water to my father who was chopping wood.
    We reached my father who stopped his work for a drink leaving his double sided axe stuck in a piece of wood a few feet away.
    “Hello Elise, hello Erin,” smiled father as he spun us both around in that special kind of hug that swung us off our feet.
    While Elise gave father the water, my eyes darted to father’s axe sitting only a few feet away. I wonder if I can chop wood like father, I thought to myself as I walked over to the axe.
    “Be careful Erin!” called father. “Don’t touch the axe.”
    I won’t, I’ll just take a closer look, I decided.
    I stumbled forward and when I had almost reached the axe, I tripped over my dress and fell right on to the axe.
    Pain exploded in my face as I screamed in sheer agony. I reached up to my eyes and felt something sticky. Darkness clouded my vision and I screamed louder.
    Father reached me and lifted me up into his strong arms as he carried me toward the house.
    Mother ran out of the house carrying my baby brother Eric. Soon mother was washing the blood off my face, but still I kept screaming and crying. “I can’t see!” I sobbed into mother’s arms.
    The next day, mother called the doctor, but after examining my eyes he came to the conclusion that I would never see again.
    I cried for days on end, never again would I see the flowers, the grass, or my family.
    “She’s worthless,” hissed mother one night when she thought I was asleep. “What will we ever do with her?”
    That would echo through my head for years to come and I would forever regret walking closer to that axe. One axe changed my life forver.

    • I like this; very much, actually. It felt like the character was telling a story rather than it being written into a novel. I don’t know if that’s the feel you were going for, but I liked the impressions it gave me like that, and your character never specifies what exactly went through her head when her mother said that, which gave me a lot of room for my imagination to kick in, yet you provided a strong image of the character. Well done. 🙂

  2. I…I want…I am /going/ to do this. When and where, who knows. 😉

    • Well, if you’d like, you can do it on your blog or in the comments here. And Monday’s a good day. :p Thanks for your interest, Song. 🙂 I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with if you do something for it.

      • Song on said:

        I don’t know if I’ll post it anywhere. I ended up going with a year before the adventure begins, which turned into a few months, which turned into a full-blown prologue, which, in turn, has helped me solidify all the themes of my biggest WIP and pretty much changed everything I ever knew about my main character.
        Again, it seems I am left with nothing to say but thank you. I’ll send it to you when it’s finished.

  3. Alyssa B. on said:

    Hey! My friend told me about this, and I thought I would try it. I would love to hear your opinion. If you would like I can email you what I have of the story that goes with it! It’s a bit confusing without knowing the whole story 😛

    Amelia met Rachel when she was three and Rachel was four. Their parents became friends when Rachel’s family moved next door, and the girls hung out whenever they could. They grew up together and shared everything, from first crushes to all of Amelia’s magical sightings. She told her everything: about the Little Girl in the Mirror, about Timmy the Pencil, and her moving dolls.
    “I want to meet Timmy,” Rachel declared one morning over a breakfast of waffles. They were eight at this point, and it was one of their very first sleepovers.
    “I don’t know, he’s very shy,” Amelia bit her lip, trying to decide. She wasn’t quite sure if she wanted to share Timmy with Rachel. He was special. He was her special friend, and she didn’t want him to be friends with anyone else.
    After breakfast the girls headed up to Amelia’s room. Her room looked much different back then, much more pink and a lot less books, but Timmy was sitting in his predetermined place on the dresser as always. When he saw Rachel he tried to hide behind a cup of pencils but Rachel noticed him.
    “Ah-ha!” she dashed across the room and picked him up by his eraser hat. Timmy flailed around, clinging to his hat for dear life.
    “Rachel!” Amelia was furious, but she tried to act mature and composed. “Please put Timmy down.”
    “I just wanted to get to know you. What’s it like being a pencil?”
    “Well not nearly as good as being a human, apparently.” He brushed himself off and glared at Rachel.
    “Come on Timmy, be nice,” Amelia coaxed, but secretly she was happy they weren’t getting along. At least now she wouldn’t have to share him.

    Nine years passed, and Amelia was seventeen. It had been a year since she’d come back from Arasonya, and she was still recovering. One afternoon she heard a soft knock on her bedroom door. She spent a lot of time in her room these days. She couldn’t really see a reason to leave.
    “Amelia?” Rachel poked her head in. They hadn’t talked in three years, ever since Amelia had started dating Mickey, but thankfully that was over now, so Amelia was surprised to see her. “Can I come in?”
    “Sure,” Amelia was happy to see her despite their falling out. She didn’t have anyone right now and she could use a friend.
    “Your mom called me. She said you were depressed?”
    Amelia sighed. She knew her mom meant well. “Well I’m not.” she said defensively. Rachel nodded, but Amelia could tell she didn’t believe her. There was a tub of ice cream half eaten by her bed, and she’d obviously been there all day. She hadn’t even bothered to get dressed. She squirmed awkwardly. “Do you want to sit down?” Rachel nodded again. She sat down and looked around the room. “It’s different,” She commented after a moment.
    “Different how?”
    “I don’t know, just different.” The girls sat there in silence. “Hey look, it’s Timmy.” She pointed to the dresser where Timmy was eavesdropping on their conversation. He jumped and turned red. The girls laughed together. It was the first time in a very long time for Amelia, and it felt really good. Maybe she was going to be okay after all.

    • I enjoyed this. Your girls were very sweet and young as children. I especially liked this line: ” “Rachel!” Amelia was furious, but she tried to act mature and composed. “Please put Timmy down.” ” I felt that it was very much like a child would think. All grown up, are we, Amelia?

      It did seem a little bit confusing without knowing the rest of the story, but for this, it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t the whole story, but it makes us wonder about the rest of it. Well done. 🙂

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