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An introduction to the protagonist

As promised, here is a small insight into the reasons behind the choice of the protagonist in Lonely As A Cloud. Most books have more than one protagonist, anything from two to dozens. Look at Tolkein for example; he had a veritable plethora of characters. Admittedly the dwarves were very two dimensional in the Hobbit, but the fellowship was far more fleshed out.

Anyway, given that I had decided that the human race was going to be whittled down to a single unit, I had to give some careful thought to who exactly they would be. The first dilemma was actually relatively easy to solve; the gender. The reason why it was so simple was the fact that the book was going to be written in the form of a diary, and the large majority of people who keep diaries are female. This ended up working very well for a number of reasons, one of which I will divulge in a later post.

So, the gender chosen, I then had to decide what the defining characteristics would be. The minutiae could be fleshed out over time as the story progressed, but the most important thing to my mind was what family did she have? The story needed to be about more than the loss of the human race. There needed to be personal loss as well. I myself have no partner, or any children to speak of, but it came to my mind that she needed to have both. She needed to experience the loss of both, and the reader needed to experience that right alongside her.

Aside from this, she is a normal person. In most dystopian novels based here on Earth, the main character/s have the skills they need to survive, to rebuild. The human race continues. That is fine if the world is being taken over by zombies, or any other supernatural creature. It's even fine when there are a group of human survivors after a natural disaster. For one human being? When the cause is a virus? She doesn't have to have any special skills. Micro-organisms are indiscriminate, they hit rich and poor alike. The only thing that matters is her immune system, somehow protecting her from the thing that has killed every single member of her species. Nature at work.

The one thing that I deliberately omitted, until the very end of the novel, was the protagonists name, although if you have read the article in the Cornish Guardian you will be aware of it. For all of us who kept a diary in our teenage years I am sure you will agree with me that, unless you are in your very early teens or writing your first name along with your crush's surname in little hearts, your diary remains nameless. You are, or at least you hope you are, the only person who will ever read it. (Unless you have a nosy brother of course!) She is hoping that in time other people will find it but she still feels her name is unimportant.

Unlike the name of her children and her husband, who feature prominently in the first part of the book. The opening of the book tells of how she loved, and lost, those dearest to her. She is ever protective during her family's life, sometimes doing what she later realises are despicable acts in a vain attempt to protect her family. In the end, would any of us judge someone for that, or would we do the same?

The question then remained; as I had killed off her family relatively early on (and as a writer you do feel cruel sometimes doing that) why did she go to search for others? What do you do when you have suffered loss? You turn to those you love for comfort. But what do you do when you have lost everything? When there is literally nobody to turn to? What would make you carry on? She needed to have both lost something...and have something to lose. She needed to have a reason to carry on. What that is, you will have to find out.

I hope you've enjoyed this little tidbit, and I also hope I get enough pre-orders to hit my target! It's only four weeks to go now, and a long way.

My usual sign off is happy crafting but this won't work here so instead I will end with happy writing


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