Screenwriting : Finding it difficult to know my main character. by Erik Niel

Erik Niel

Finding it difficult to know my main character.

On my 4th rewrite of my screenplay. Things are moving good, but I am finding it easier to get the vibe of my antagonist than it is for my protagonist. I have all back stories etc, but when writing my for my protagonist it doesn't seem to flow as easily. Does this happen to anyone else?

Erica Lee Babcock

I had writer's block for 3 years with my poetry. I think sometimes it's just about finding the right muse. Somebody to inspire your characters.

Mark Souza

That's not unusual. We often try to write our heroes as likable guys. But often what makes the most interesting heroes are their flaws. No flaws equals boring. A smooth course through life also equals boring. Adrian Monk is a perfect example of a flawed protagonist. A genius who is also a germ-a-phobe and afraid to step outside his sterile apartment. A socially inept man so consumed by his remorse for his murdered wife that he has almost no room to let others into his life or move forward. He has to overcome these flaws in every episode and it's painful and funny. We root for him. Rewrite the backstory for your protagonist. Learn what he wants and why he wants it so bad, that will be in his history somewhere. Also figure out what flaws he might have that best suit your story. Once you know him better, he'll be easier to write.

Erik Niel

Yes, I believe you are right. Back to the back story. Thanks for the comments.

Bart Willard

I'm not a writer per se but I do consider myself a storyteller. Being an artist & designer I just do it visually, either within a single image or within a series of images. What I've learned from my writer friends is that plot is simple, characters are complex. It's through the circumstances they find themselves in that they reveal their complexity, both the good and the bad. Find out who your protagonist is (backstory) and then allow your audience to see the ongoing development of that protagonist within the present narrative. A hero is the one who desires to do good despite his flaws. I found from personal experience that I finally come to terms with myself both good and bad because of the friction I experience when the easy choice comes in conflict with the right choice. I hope I'm not off base here.

Anthony Crociata

Maybe the story actually belongs to your antagonist. Figure out, to whom do you most relate? There's your story.

Adrian Barker

Base him or her on someone you know.

Lisa Souza

Or try visualizing an actor you'd like to play the role.

Janet Stafford

The actor thing really works for me because I can hear how the character speaks, see how he/she walks, etc. However, some of the other suggestions are also helpful. Try writing a short scene with the protagonist that has nothing to do with your script. Put him/her in a different situation. See what comes out. If nothing - then maybe your story really IS about the antagonist.

Erik Niel

All great suggestions, thanks for the feedback.

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