How do you create a compelling protagonist?

A compelling protagonist is the foundation of a good story. A well-written protagonist can captivate the audience and keep them engaged in the story. To create a compelling protagonist, you need to understand the key elements that make up a compelling character and how to effectively communicate those elements to your audience.


A protagonist is the main character in a story and is often the lens through which the audience experiences the story. A compelling protagonist is one that the audience can relate to, empathize with, and root for. A well-written protagonist will keep the audience engaged and invested in the story, making the story more impactful and memorable.

Character Development

One of the most important aspects of creating a compelling protagonist is character development. The audience needs to know who the protagonist is, what they want, and what is at stake for them in order to connect with them. To create a well-rounded character, consider the following elements:

  • Background: What is the protagonist's background? Where did they come from? What are their life experiences?
  • Motivation: What does the protagonist want? Why do they want it? What motivates them?
  • Personality: What is the protagonist's personality like? Are they confident, shy, stubborn, etc.? How do they react to different situations?
  • Relationships: How does the protagonist interact with others? What are their relationships like with friends, family, and romantic partners?
  • Inner conflict: What internal conflicts does the protagonist have? What are their fears and insecurities?

Storytelling Techniques

In addition to character development, storytelling techniques also play a role in creating a compelling protagonist. The way in which the story is told can greatly impact how the audience experiences the protagonist. Here are a few techniques to consider:

  • Point of View: The point of view can greatly impact how the audience experiences the protagonist. A first-person point of view allows the audience to experience the story directly through the protagonist's eyes, while a third-person point of view provides a more detached perspective.
  • Dialogue: Dialogue can reveal a lot about the protagonist's personality and motivations. Pay attention to how the protagonist speaks, what they say, and how they interact with others.
  • Actions: The protagonist's actions speak louder than words. What the protagonist does reveals a lot about who they are and what they want.
  • Inner thoughts: Inner thoughts can provide insight into the protagonist's motivations and conflicts.

Character Arcs

A character arc is the journey that the protagonist takes throughout the story. A well-written character arc can help the audience see the protagonist's growth and transformation, making the protagonist more compelling. Consider the following when creating a character arc:

  • Conflict: The protagonist's conflict drives the story forward and provides opportunities for growth and change.
  • Transformation: The protagonist should undergo a transformation throughout the story. This can be a physical, emotional, or psychological change.
  • Resolution: The protagonist's journey should ultimately lead to a resolution, whether it be achieving their goal, coming to terms with their conflicts, or some other form of closure.


How do I make my protagonist relatable?

Making your protagonist relatable to the audience is key to creating a compelling protagonist. To make your protagonist relatable, consider their motivations, fears, and insecurities. Show how they react to different situations and how they interact with others.

What if my protagonist is not likeable?

Not all protagonists have to be likeable, but they should be relatable. If your protagonist is not likeable, make sure there is something about them that the audience can connect with or understand. Show their flaws and weaknesses, but also show their strengths and what makes them unique.

Can a protagonist change throughout the story?

Yes, a protagonist can and often should change throughout the story. A character arc involves the protagonist undergoing some form of transformation, whether it be physical, emotional, or psychological. This change makes the story more impactful and memorable for the audience.


Creating a compelling protagonist takes effort and consideration, but the payoff is worth it. A well-written protagonist can keep the audience engaged and invested in the story, making the story more impactful and memorable. By focusing on character development, storytelling techniques, and character arcs, you can create a protagonist that the audience will connect with and remember long after the story is over.

In conclusion, "How do you create a compelling protagonist?" is a question that writers must consider in order to craft a story that resonates with the audience. By taking into account the elements of character development, storytelling techniques, and character arcs, writers can create a protagonist that is not only relatable, but also unforgettable.