Building The Perfect Protagonist
As far as I can tell, there are only three kinds of characters. There are flat characters. There are round characters and there are dynamic characters.
Flat characters are…well they’re flat. They’re nothing more than props. Round characters have self doubt or inner conflict. And dynamic characters not only have self doubt or inner conflict, but they also have the capacity for change.
Now a capacity for change is all well and good when we’re talking about a 40,000 to 120,000 word novel or even a 2,000 to 5,000 word short story; but what about the 750 to 1,000 word flash fiction story? What about the protagonist of a 750 to 1,000 word flash fiction story? There simply is not enough narrative movement for a lot of change.
The narrative movement of a novel goes from A to Z. The narrative movement of a regular-length short story goes from A to (oh, let’s say) E. The narrative movement of flash fiction goes from A to B.
A writer of flash fiction can get away with a flat protagonist very nicely. But a round protagonist makes for a better flash fiction story. And a dynamic protagonist means you’ve just accomplished something few flash fiction writers ever experience; but it can be done. I like to think that I’ve created a couple of dynamic flash fiction protagonists.