Thread: Fatal Flaw?
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:10 AM   #50
Mac H.
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,852
Default Re: Fatal Flaw?

I'm trying to write something at the moment where I've deliberately chosen to make the 'main character' not the protagonist.

It's a lot harder than you think - it almost seems like a play where all the interesting events are happening off screen. (Although in this case it is the emotional moments that are happening off-hero)

It almost feels like it's a TV spinoff series where I'm trying to keep the viewer's attention and emotion on someone who clearly isn't the main character.

I'm not sure it's successful (or, to be less polite, I'm sure at this stage it isn't !) but it certainly is an interesting writing exercise.

It's becoming a bit like 'You, Me & Dupree' would have been if Dupree hadn't changed at all. The 'Dupree' character is causing all the strife to everyone and is clearly the most interesting person but I'm trying to focus the viewer's attention onto those who are learning to change because of the 'Force of Nature' character.

However the thing I'm really struggling with is that the viewer in me keeps wanting to shout 'Why are you forcing me to watch 'Sidekick' for so long when 'Hero' is doing the much more interesting stuff?'


Despite my (not successful) experiment, I really can't see how on earth we could count 'Shawshank Redemption' as an example where the Protagonist and the Main Character is split.

The person the audience follows from the beginning is Andy.
The person who initiates all the changes in the story is Andy.
The person who the audience would sympathize with is Andy.

The fact that he meets someone else who is quite interesting and has a bit of a story of his own doesn't change the fact that Andy is the main character.

Under what argument could you say that Red is the Protagonist? He isn't an agent for change.

Under what argument could you say that Red is the main character? Just because he's the narrator?

Most of Red's narration is about ANDY - because ANDY is the main character. If the narrator was an omniscient point of view, would that make the omniscient point of view the main character? (Now that I think of it, in a way Red's narration is almost omniscient POV - he knows the history of everyone up until the end.)

Plenty of films are narrated by someone who isn't the main character.

'The Castle' is a film about a battle to save a family's home. The main character is the father of the family - the David in the David & Goliath battle. The narrator is a young kid who, quite literally, does nothing throughout the entire film except dig a hole. And the hole isn't even relevant to the plot !

You can't tell me that the kid who dug a hole is the main character. It's just the POV to show us who the main character really is.


Last edited by Mac H. : 10-27-2010 at 09:24 PM.
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