Apr 14 2016

#atozchallenge L is for Writer’s Lab #Prompt Protagonist Failure

The craft of fiction writing is the Theme for the #atozchallenge 2016 on the blog of @JLenniDorner
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26 writing reference books containing 26 lessons leads to a month of #WriteTips and writing samples

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L is for “Lab”
Book: The Writer’s Lab: A Place to Experiment with Fiction by Sexton Burke
My dice roll: 112
Lesson: Writing Prompt about a protagonist who fails

A protagonist normally achieves a goal by the end of the story. Write a scene or story where the protagonist comes close to succeeding, but ultimately fails. Is the scene satisfying for the reader?

*spoiler* In my book Fractions of Existence, Xavier fails. His goal is to reunite his kind, but he doesn’t do that. He is supposed to lead his group so they can prevent the apocalypse. He wants his true mate to know what she really is and fall in love with him all over again. Instead— … read the scene to find out!

And no, the hare is not just a hare.

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A strong wind lashed at his back. He failed to hold back his own tears any longer. “Of all that this world has to offer, you matter the most to me. But you must make your own choices. I will support you, even if I deeply wish that you had chosen me, instead. I must go. If you come with me, you will lose most of the life that you have right now. But Wend, if you stay, I must make one request of you.”

“What’s the request?” she whimpered.

“You must work on controlling your emotions, on focusing your breathing through each one, especially the truly strong emotions— such as grief, anger, and elation. I will be watching. I will know if you do not heed this request, but I cannot promise to be able to help you in time if you ignore it.”

“Then you won’t be far?” Wend sniffled. “You cannot be far if you will watch me.”

Xavier opened his eyes and laughed softly. “I can count tornadoes from New York, Wend.” One side of his lips curled up in a seductive smile.

She gave him a confused look. His fingers moved to her chin, his thumb brushed her lower lip for the smallest moment, and then he whispered good-bye.


Xavier parked at the side of a road constructed on a cliff jutting over the ocean. The driver’s side mirror reflected the face of a man without a smile left in him. The hare on the passenger seat perked his ears up as Xavier pulled out his phone and wallet.

“Not sure what your plans are for the next few days, but if you aren’t coming back for Christmas, or aren’t planning to use typical transportation, please ship these to Jansen.” He placed the objects on the seat beside the hare, who nudged his hand with its nose.

“I can’t.” He barely managed to say before bursting into tears. His fingers shook as he unbuttoned his shirt. “I’m sorry that these will be a bit large on you. It is your favorite designer, though.”

The hare made some terrified squeaking sounds.

“I will not force her to reunite with our kind. I would sooner let this world end than to deny her the choice to keep the life she has forged for herself, here.”

Further sounds of fearful protest came from the animal.

“I have to go this way! I can’t bear the idea of a flight back across the country.” Xavier thrust his door open. He stepped out, shed the rest of his clothing, and turned to face the sea below. “Thank you for everything my friend.”

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Ian Somerhalder with one side of his lips curled up in a seductive smile- image
Was the scene satisfying to you?

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    • Tawnya on April 14, 2016 at 10:13 AM

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    This didn’t leave me satisfied. As a reader I think I want the “hero” to accomplish the goal that he/she sets out to accomplish. Unfortunately this isn’t real life. So, even though I may not have been satisfied with the scene it brought up emotions and thoughts in me that were necessary to grow me as a reader and person. Well written! Definitely something to think more about in my own writing!

    Also, I am loving the challenge! I always forget how busy April is, this is only my second year doing the challenge, but I already feel like it has grown me in writing and meeting people in this blogging community!
    Tawnya has this post to share A to Z- Authentic Inspiration: Lucille Ball #atozchallengeMy Profile

  1. I don’t mind seeing a character not get what he’s after. How he reacts to that failure allows me to understand more about the character. Great job.
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