Would the Real Protagonist Please Stand Up?

A great deal of examination has finally revealed the actual protagonist of my novel: the prince wins. Hurray for Kelvin!

Thanks to some research, I have also determined the princess’s role in the story and added a new vocabulary term to my repertoire. She is not only the dear narrator–the one character we always can trust and who has continually kept me from just killing the prince off, sometimes quite literally. (Alas that I wasn’t blogging yet the day that he found a plot hole and went tumbling through it like Alice into Wonderland, sending me reeling and nearly sentencing himself to death because I didn’t know how to save him.)

She is the false protagonist.

When the story begins, it looks like it will about her. The prince leaves the picture quite quickly and, as already mentioned, is not physically in scene for nearly half of the story. But, of course, it isn’t. The story at its very core is his. (Thanks again, CB Wentworth, for showing me that.)

She ends up being like Marion in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. While she doesn’t vacate the story, leaving us in the hands of another protagonist–the true protagonist–her struggles are overshadowed by the prince’s and most of her energy is poured into playing a role in his conflict. (He is the hero of the story, but she is his heroine.)

It certainly isn’t a role I intended for her to have as the story matured, but I like the complexity and uniqueness it adds. I suppose what CS Lewis said is true:

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

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5 responses to “Would the Real Protagonist Please Stand Up?

  • C.B. Wentworth

    Oooo, that sounds like an interesting solution. :-) It’s really awesome that you are taking an unconventional route! They say the very best writers are those that reinvent the game one rule at a time. I’m very curious of how you are going to switch between the two (p.o.v. wise), so keep us updated! :-)

  • Anthony Lee Collins

    You could write a very interesting essay on how Hitchcock played with the idea of the protagonist (in many of his films). There’s a lot to learn there.

    I’m glad you got that question answered. I’ve been thinking about it, too, in relation to my detective character, and in the story I’m writing now she’s definitely going through some things she hasn’t experienced before. Plus, nothing to do with the mysteries themselves, she does have a kid now, which means all kinds of changes, too.

    So, I guess she is the protagonist. :-)

  • laurastanfill

    Very cool. Congrats on finding your answer!

  • Bryna

    I would love to do an essay on Hitchcock’s protagonists. And it sounds like a great excuse to rewatch my favorites. : )

    Thanks again for you input, everyone! I’ll definitely keep you all updated.

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