When writing a book, one of the most important things that you can get right is your protagonist. As the person who the reader wants to success in whatever they are doing, the protagonist often drives the plot in ways that simply could not be driven without one. They often have an antagonist to contend with – though it could be themselves in a way – and they tend to be the person who helps to drive the book onward.
You might also want to consider that not every protagonist is necessarily good. The world isn’t quite so easy, especially in writing. Dreadful people can do amazing things; just as amazing people can do dreadful things. Keep that in mind when writing a good protagonist: sometimes, the best character is someone acting wildly out of turn with their expected actions in any given situation.
What kind of protagonist should you look to create, then?
The Classic Hero/Heroine
Without doubt, the most go-to choice for obvious reasons. A protagonist offers you a wonderful way to make the story a journey, and the good chasing evil journey is often a fine one to watch. From being the heroic knight saving the princess to someone trying to make the world a better place in their own little way, the classic hero or heroine can be very much built to your own needs and requirements.
Another popular choice, and one that makes the reader question their morality when done well, is the anti-hero. From a gangster turned good to an ex-con trying to save an orphan, you have so many options to make someone who would usually be on the other side of your writing become the hero/heroine.
It’s a fine choice when you want something that helps to open the grey areas of the world we live in. Not everyone gets saved by a superhero, just as not every supervillain is a monster. Sometimes, it’s nice to shine the light on that all-important human element when writing.
Remember, not every protagonist is a hero – some protagonists are evil. A book about an evil hitman forced to carry out various jobs to save a pack of kidnapped children, for example, is still a protagonist. Every book has to have a protagonist, so if you cannot find space for a villain, why not consider making the villain your main protagonist?
Sometimes, the situation can be so severe that the reader will want the usual villain to come out the other side a better person. It can be a journey of regret and redemption – it could even just a be a tale following the path of a monster. Not every book has to have good triumphing over evil, after all!
With these ideas, you will hopefully be able to come up with a more multi-faceted main character. So long as you keep in mind that the main character can be more than just a hero who always does the right thing, you can create some special characters for your books.