Rebecca Petruck: Let the Main Character Drive the Bus

Great Article on the Importance of the Main Character in Fiction

Nerdy Chicks Write

Rebecca Petruck Rebecca Petruck

You know how “Show Don’t Tell” is both true and kind of meaningless these days? I think the same about “Start with Action.” That advice drives me crazy because it’s incomplete: “Start with an Action that Reveals the MC’s Character.”

Imagine if The Hunger Games opened with Katniss volunteering. It would be dramatic, and we’d think her brave for taking her sister’s place. But would we be invested in the decision? A lot of people are surprised when I lay out the actual opening of The Hunger Games:

  • Katniss wakes up alone—Prim isn’t there (motivating fear);
  • Katniss sneaks across the perimeter to hunt (not afraid to break what she considers senseless rules; demonstrates a skill);
  • talks with Gale (establishes rules of world; her focus on survival blinds her to his feelings);
  • stops by the market and to see the mayor’s daughter to trade (confidence in navigating…

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