Creating a Web Fiction Series – Episode Four: So, Who’s the Main Guy?

More important than plot is character. This is because if a character is interesting or compelling, it doesn’t really matter what the plot is. The story could be about the character shopping for clothes or having a troublesome shit. If the character is interesting people will read. And while this series, so far, will feature various strange happenings, I still want the reader to be invested in the main character. Because even a plot featuring car chases, explosions, and crazed Cthulu monsters trying to devour the world would eventually become dull spectacle without an interesting protagonist at its center.

First, let’s refer to the synopsis that we came up with for the web fiction series.

Burt Romero, a college dropout and recovering alcoholic moves back home to work in the family business: a pizzeria. Burt tries to get his life back on track, and mend his relationship with his family and the people he left behind. Oh, and there’s also spirits, extraterrestrials, and other strange phenomena that he has to contend with daily while delivering pizzas. Life isn’t so easy for Burt, but hey, he just has to take each day…one slice at a time…

So, we already have a name. We already have an occupation and a situation. But who is this person? What does this person want? Maybe I can develop the character as I write. He will likely change or deepen as the series progresses, but we probably need some sort of foundation, otherwise the character might end-up a vessel subservient to the needs of the story. I also don’t want the character to be “zany” or “wacky” either, Jesus Christ.

First, I’m probably going to move away from the alcoholism or, at the very least, it won’t be a focus point. This is because I don’t want to fall into the usual cliches of an alcoholic, depressed, deadbeat character. If alcoholism is addressed, it will be more about the why. I’m also thinking of making the character more passive as he finds himself in strange situations and is forced to react. At the same time, I don’t want him to be an empty husk.

In order to help narrow things down I’ve written a brief character summary to help build something of a foundation for the character.

Burt Romero, 28 (or whatever), just wants to have a normal, quiet life with as little conflict as possible. However, he’s getting frustrated with his job delivering pizzas for the family business. He used to have dreams and ambitions, but as he’s gotten older he’s realized his limitations. As a result, he just wants to have a very basic life, but fears that he will never be truly content. But, he tries to do his best not just for himself, but for the family business as well, because there’s no point in drowning in your sorrows now is there?

So, this is our hero. Well…that’s fun. How can you not be excited to read this?

Anyway, next I will focus on the cast and setting for this series. Auf wiedersehen.

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