Monday, April 19, 2010

Problem Solving

View of the Kaag--Willem-Bastiaan-Tholen-1860-1931 Since our novels are all supposed to have tons of conflict in them (major, minor, and in between), our protagonists need to use their problem solving skills…usually.

In real life, I think our personalities have a lot to do with the way we approach our problems.

Some people panic, some people shut down, some avoid problems as much as possible, some people deny there is a problem, some attack problems head-on.

Some people have a methodical approach to solving problems, some have a wait-and-see approach.

My books are mysteries, so my protagonists do have some organized methods for investigating the murders…or else we wouldn’t be able to get anywhere in the book.

But I’m curious about other protagonists and their approaches to conflict. Because I don’t really think that in real life most people attack problems directly.

In books, though, don’t readers lose interest if the protagonist doesn’t confront their problems? Does the story drag if the character is just having things happen to them and not working through the issues?

If you do have a reticent protagonist, how do you keep the reader interested while they either avoid the problem or deny the problem? Or while they wait to see what happens?

Or do we all have protagonists who are natural leaders? I think many of us might…