Is your hero a couch potato?

passive hero May 26, 2022

Have you ever been told your protagonist is too “passive?” If so, please know that you’re not alone. The passive hero problem is one that many (and I mean, MANY) writers have to work their way through. 

What do I mean by passive? 

  • Your hero tends to spend pages ruminating about things from the past (“but I need the backstory!”)
  • Your hero tends to spend pages observing and interpreting what’s going on around them (“but she’s the viewpoint character!”)
  • One or more secondary or sidekick-type characters seem to have all the best lines and best ideas about what should happen next (“maybe I should make her the hero?”)
  • If asked what your hero wants in a particular scene, the best you can come up with is “to be left alone” (“but she’s anxious/shy/sad, that’s her flaw! Isn't she supposed to have a flaw?")
  • When confronted by problems, your hero suffers but does not spring into action ("but if she just solves all her problems, isn't the story over?")

In this livestream, we talk about why we can get stuck writing passive heroes and what to do instead. 

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