Smartening Up Your Protagonist

I read something recently attributed to Jane Fitch about “smartening up” your protagonist. How might I accomplish this? I’m pondering ways to incorporate this process into my novel-in-progress. Below are some ways I experimented with this in my first mystery which I wrote in the first person narrative.

• Looking (absorbing her surroundings, investigating situations, regarding others).
Was I in danger from the person who tracked me? Would he still be able to follow me even though I’d removed the GPS unit? What was I to do? I couldn’t even identify the person responsible for violating my privacy.

• Thinking (planning, strategizing; considering her situation or reasoning about another’s ideas or opinions).
My little hound Sprite was snuffling in the snow and growling. At first it looked like she was just playing, but upon closer inspection, I thought I could see prints leading up to the shrubs outside the basement window. Maybe someone had been snooping around my house. However, Sprite had stirred up the snow, and I couldn’t tell for sure whether what I was looking at were footprints or not.

• Wondering (pondering a problem; speculating about something; curious about what another might be thinking or doing).
I wasn’t skeptical about coincidences in themselves. On occasion I’d be thinking about my sister and suddenly the phone would ring and it would be her. However, that scenario was probably more about synchronicity than coincidence.

The idea that Ron and I both ended up at Charter College after working for the same technology company elsewhere was a somewhat plausible coincidence. It was a bit of a stretch, perhaps, but still within the realm of reasonableness.

However, when factoring in the GPS, the slashed tire and the black truck sightings certainly were more a pattern of scary harassment than a couple of coincidences. I just needed to figure out the how and the why of the pattern which would ultimately lead me to the culprit.

• Remembering (flashing back to previous events in order to shed light on her character or her situation).
I brooded upon my aversion to guns. Perhaps I was being irrational, just stuck in an old hang-up. Logically I understood that the problem was not the gun per se, but rather how the gun was used. My fear started during my years with Michael. He’d been a gun fanatic, and he used the threat of his guns in tirades against me. Distance allowed me to believe he’d used his guns as a deliberate controlling tactic, rather than with the intention of actually pulling the trigger. However, how could I ever be certain of that?

I would be honored if you would comment on how you manage this in the “Leave a Reply” block below! 5.0 out of 5 stars October 19, 2014 By Pauline M. Rowan This review is from: Beware the Sleeping Dog (A Professor Mavis Walker Mystery) (Kindle Edition) Good read. I like the fact that it was full of suspense and intrigue, but was not overly violent or gory. Looking forward to reading more books by this author!


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