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The Power of the Protagonist

As any reader or writer knows, the protagonist of a story is a pretty significant piece of the narrative. For the reader, the protagonist is the character they journey with throughout a novel or series. There is a weight to this character because he or she is the one whose story is directly told in the work. For the writer, there is perhaps an even greater weight to such a character because in the unfolding of the protagonist's story, he or she is responsible for communicating the greater narrative, messages, and themes the writer wishes to convey to readers.

Every book ever written would be vastly different from the original had the author chosen a different protagonist. Think about it. What if Harry Potter had instead been Hermione Granger? Knowing Rowling's work, it would still be a book and series I would want to read, but it wouldn't be the Harry Potter story we've come to know and love. To mix it up even more, what if Rowling had chosen to follow Luna or Draco? Dumbledore or Ginny? Yes, many of the themes and messages Rowling wished to convey through Harry Potter's narrative could have been communicated with other supporting characters as the main character, but would the story have been as effective?

I can't speak for Rowling, but I think she would agree when I say no, the story would not have been as effective because as we know, she made the intentional choice to center the entire world she created around the story of a young orphaned boy with magic.

When I think about my own novel, Crimson Time, and the series it starts, no other character could lead the narrative quite like Adelaide. When the original idea for Crimson Time came to mind, I wrote a few chapters to play with the idea, but used a very different protagonist from the one I ended up with. She was still a girl in her late teens, but her characterization was more cautious and head-led. She fit the story as it stood, but not the story as it needed to be. As I wrote and the story evolved into something more than an idea, I realized the story I wanted to tell and the themes I wished to convey needed a headstrong, heart-led girl.

That girl was Adelaide, a fiery red-head with a passion that burns as bright as her hair.

She needed to be stubborn and speak her mind. Intelligent, but lead with her heart. Curious and driven. But above all, if I wanted to use Adelaide's character to inspire other girls to own the narrative of their own story, I had to show them a character that was every bit as real for her passions and quirks as she was for her flaws. A girl who was the beautiful mess society often leads us to believe does not exist.

What I love about Adelaide's character is she refuses to let someone else write her story. You start to to see this as she takes more control over the course of Crimson Time, but it will become even more evident as the series progresses. When circumstances are out of her control, she presses on, even if pressing on looks and feels a lot like stumbling around in the dark.

I hope as you enter into the world I have created, that you enjoy getting to know the vast array of characters you will meet on your journey, and while Adelaide may not be the character you directly connect with, I hope see why Crimson Time needed to be her story.

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