THROUGH THE EYES

HOW TO LOOK THROUGH THE PROTAGONIST’S EYES

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Looking at the world through the eyes of the protagonist will help to develop a fuller story. This is a basic principle of writing.

Using the protagonist can assist with creating empathy for your themes, your premise, and for your other characters.

Think about Wilson. There is no other inanimate object as well-known and as personified as him. Who is Wilson? He’s the volleyball from Cast Away with Tom Hanks.

Tom Hanks is stranded on an island, and he creates this “person” from the volleyball. At first it was just a joke for him, but as the movie progressed, Wilson had thoughts, feelings, emotions…and an attitude.

Many of us laughed when we saw this, and frankly, I still do, but the creators of Cast Away showed us something as writers that we should heed: anything is important through the eyes of your protagonist.

Your protagonist’s views about the other characters, about herself, and about the world in general all bond together to mold the reader’s thoughts into whatever you want them to be.

How can we use this to our advantage?

Think about that “blank”-of-an-ex-wife. Your protagonist hates her. She’s always doing things to get under his skin, and she would burn the hairs off his head if she had the chance.

Describing her this way makes the reader develop an opinion. With that opinion, we can further develop the plot so that she is even worse than the protagonist imagined, or we can flip the script and have her be quite the contrary, even to the point where the protagonist is the one with the wrong perception.

This is just one example. What’s important is to understand that our readers are always making judgments about other characters and about everything else. Since we know that, let’s look at ways to use these judgments in our novels.

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