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‘I don’t need to like my protagonists. I need to be curious about them and I must respect their intelligence’

There are as many protagonists as there are personalities in our vast world. There are anti-heroes and do-gooders. There are dragon slayers and gardeners. The choice you make will be as personal as your choice of friends or lovers.

I don’t need to like my protagonists. I need to be curious about them and I must respect their intelligence. There are many types of intelligence – creative, emotional, parental, literary, comedic, mathematical, on and on. My central characters don’t need to be perfectly brilliant, but I must admire them for something.

If I smugly patronise my protagonist, the story is dead. If I’m better than my protagonist, then so are my readers. Why would they want to spend hours with a character they look down on?