Bad Writing Advice: Changing the Protagonist

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Photo: CA Hawthorne

When you’re writing that great novel sometimes small details slip through the cracks and a correction or two becomes necessary. For instance, you might find yourself writing the closing chapter and realize the protagonist doesn’t work. Yeah, okay, so you should have planned better. You wrote by the seat of your pants and then discovered you weren’t wearing pants at all. Or maybe you were plotting and realized you were plotting against yourself. Either way, you wrote yourself into the deepest, darkest corner in the deepest, darkest haunted house.

In other words, the novel will soon be lining the bottom of a bird cage (maybe a digital bird cage).

On the other hand, there’s my advice.

Don’t scrap all that great work. Don’t slave over a massive rewrite. Ever hear of having a twist at the end? A big mistake equals a big twist. That’s right, you can save that novel. All you have to do is change the protagonist on the fly at the end. Of course, you need someone else to accept the role, but that’s why the lame characters you haven’t used exist.

Here’s an example to show you how it works:

To read the rest of this post (as in, the example) please join me on my website HERE.


About Ontyre Passages

Alive and well in the Rocky Mountains. I'm a fantasy writer who also dabbles in poetry, short stories, and map making. My Ontyre tales are an alternative fantasy experience, the stories rich in mystery, adventure, and romance. Alternative fantasy? Not quite steampunk. Not quite gothic. In truth, the real magic is in those who discover what's within.
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3 Responses to Bad Writing Advice: Changing the Protagonist

  1. Reblogged this on So, I Read This Book Today and commented:
    Love Christina… sometimes her commentary is absolutely, positively spot-on!

  2. jeanniezelos says:

    ” Either way, you wrote yourself into the deepest, darkest corner in the deepest, darkest haunted house.”
    I can’t write, stick to reading 😉 but when this happens please please don’t ever do the “it was all a dream” thing…that is so frustrating, irritating and leaves me feeling I’ve wasted my time reading. It was (rightly) ridiculed on tv back in the 70’s/80’s in Dallas when a whole season turned out to be just one person’s dream, and the key person killed off wasn’t really dead ( roll eyes) and I read one book where about 70% I was thinking how on earth could it work out, only to find…it was all a dream, all 200+ pages, and only the first 40 or so were real. Another story killed off the mc after an accident then a chapter later, the family are waiting in hosp for news, the accident was real but him dying was…just a dream. Grrr…

    • I completely agree. The “it was all a dream” approach is a fraud, a cruel trick played on the reader that has no defense. It’s also lazy writing. I’d call it inexperienced writing, but that wasn’t the case when the Dallas writers used it. Yes, I remember that cheat well (Pam waking to find Bobby in the shower). It essentially says the writer has no problem with wasting the reader’s time.

      I was pleased when the Dallas deceit was avenged (to a degree). Bob Newhart mocked it in his second series finale when he awoke in his first series. One of the funniest moments in television history. Even now, 35 years later, comedians can still mine laughter at the expense of the Dream Episode, but none of that changes inexcusable writing.

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