Day 11 – Therese Walsh Tests Your Protagonist


Restricted and augmented lifestyles in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic may have us writer-types writing more than ever–a silver lining.

But have you stopped to consider how your protagonist(s) might respond to a similar situation?

In the midst of an emergency situation, whom would they seek to protect? How would they behave if confined?

If sharing close quarters with others, what might be said or done that otherwise might not be, and what might be the repercussions?

How might the situation bring out the best in them all–and the worst?

If the exercise brings up interesting ideas, can you create an emergency situation as a part of your story in order to bring your characters to that place organically?


Therese Walsh is the author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy and the cofounder of Writer Unboxed. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children.

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Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!

10 thoughts on “Day 11 – Therese Walsh Tests Your Protagonist”

  1. I used this prompt to write a chapter of my novel. My protagonist and her new husband are walking in the Portuguese mountains, off the usual trails. They shelter from sudden bad weather in an overgrown, derelict monastery. The storms continue unabated for days and they are trapped there with no provisions. This really tests their relationship almost to the limit. Will their new marriage survive? 985 words first draft.

  2. this prompt wasn’t for me, but I did something else because I wanted to write something. I found this book title generator (German only, but I’m sure there are lots of pages like that) and generated a random title which I used as inspiration. The title I used was “Stupid patrons at the crime scene”.

  3. I have written a story based on Number 10 Downing Street and introduced a situation where a group of journalists had to lockdown together in a flat overlooking this house to ensure the people entering and leaving this centre of government were monitored. They needed to collaborate to ensure 24 hour surveillance. Their need to do this caused an internal conflict in many of them who felt the normal competitive dynamics were hard to ignore.
    I’m happy how it’s developing but lots to work on !

  4. I timed myself and jotted down bullet points of what Kella, my protagonist, might do, bearing in mind she is five years old and newly fostered to Perin, an elderly scribe. I then repeated the exercise with Perin. I found the potential behaviours intriguing and believe their emotional responses can be used somewhere within the novel.

  5. This prompt didn’t ring any bells for me. Thanks anyway. I still wrote some today and I started researching where I might submit the essay that I wrote that involves Covid-19.

  6. I just couldn’t bring myself to write about this, not right now…will put in my pocket for later 🙂

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