For a writer or blogger of short stories, post-card fiction, very short stories, flash fiction stories and novels there are two main elements in the building of a round hero or heroine. The character must want something and the character must have an internal conflict of some kind. Batman comes to mind.
I was sitting in Armand’s in Bloomfield one night having a beer and waiting for my bus back to Oakland in Pittsburgh. I had done some writing and blogging earlier in the day so I was relaxing. On the television above the bar was “Batman Begins.” I was hypnotized. I couldn’t take my eyes off the Batman character. Why?
Of all the superheroes, Batman must be one of the most conflicted. The man has issues. He’s a vigilante. He fights crime out of revenge because his parents were killed by a criminal when he was a small boy. He was at the killing. He built his entire crime fighting persona upon fear: his fear of bats and the fear of the unknown in the criminals mind. Batman did not pick the color black as his signature on a whim. It is the color of night, of fear, of the unknowable.
What a great protagonist: a very flawed hero fighting crime and trying to do good.
This is how you build a protagonist for your fiction: there is the internal struggle against personal demons and the external struggle against an antagonist.
I ended up having to catch a later bus.
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