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Creating a Killer Protagonist for Your Thriller Novel

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

If you're an aspiring thriller writer, you're aware that a crucial component of your tale is a protagonist with whom readers can identify. After all, if the audience isn't invested in your hero, they won't care about the outcome. So, how do you craft a character that resonates with readers? Here are some pointers to help you create a captivating protagonist for your thriller novel, with a dash of humor.

First and foremost, bestow imperfections upon your hero. No one wants to read about a flawless protagonist who never falters. It's not only improbable, but it's also tedious. Give your main character peculiarities, vices, and a bit of hidden baggage. They might be terrified of speaking in public or have poor financial management skills. They could even have a clandestine passion for cheesy romantic comedies they're too embarrassed to confess. The key is to make them authentic.

Next, ensure your protagonist possesses a sense of humor. Thriller novels can be intense, necessitating a counterbalance with light-hearted moments. Your protagonist needn't be a comedic genius, but they should exhibit a witty or sardonic streak that readers find appealing. It could be as straightforward as a well-timed quip or a recurring joke that unifies the story.

Another method for creating a relatable protagonist is to assign them a familiar occupation. Not everyone can empathize with a superspy or a brilliant detective, but most have experienced a terrible boss or a loathed job. Perhaps your hero is an exhausted accountant or a struggling artist attempting to survive in a competitive field. This not only enhances relatability but also offers intriguing plot points.

Lastly, provide your protagonist with a love interest who is as imperfect and relatable as they are. No one is interested in reading about a picture-perfect romance. Instead, offer your hero a partner who is grappling with their own challenges. They could be navigating a tumultuous divorce or coping with a complicated family situation. Ensure they're more than just a two-dimensional romantic partner.

In summary, developing a relatable protagonist for your thriller novel is crucial for maintaining reader engagement. Make certain your hero has imperfections, humor, an identifiable occupation, and a complex love interest. By following these suggestions, you'll have readers cheering for your protagonist from start to finish - and perhaps even chuckling along the journey.

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