William Faulkner said about his writing process, “It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.”
In the Story Cartel Course, we start with the protagonist because in a novel (and, to some extent, a memoir), your protagonist, more than anything else, drives the story forward.
This assignment has three, simple parts.
Develop a short profile of your protagonist, writing the most important things you know about him or her. Write a paragraph describing your protagonists:
- Routine (e.g. career, quirks)
You can’t fully capture the entirety of your protagonist in one story, but as Robert McKee said, you may be able “to capture the entirety of a life in a few moments.”
Read your profile and underline two to three main ideas you want to focus on in your story.
Now, write your story!
Write a quick first draft of about 1,000 words. (For this exercise, it’s okay if you go a little over. Try not to go a lot over, though.)
Try to write your first draft in one sitting. It’s alright if you have to take a short bathroom break or a walk in the middle, but see if you can at least finish your first draft in one day.
Once you’re finished with your story, hold on to it. We’re going to be working on it more in this unit.
Ready to move on to the next lesson? Click here.