Specifically, the Protagonist is the character that moves the story forward by pursing the story goal. In most stories, this is the same as the Main Character, and most of the time, these terms can be used interchangeably.
The protagonist is at the center of the story, typically makes the key decisions, and experiences the consequences of those decisions. The protagonist usually affects the main characters’ circumstances as well, as they are often the primary actor propelling the story forward. If a story contains a subplot, or is a narrative made up of several stories, then there may be a character who is interpreted as the protagonist of each subplot or individual story. (from wikipedia)
At Jargogle, we differentiate (1) between the Main Character and the Protagonist by the roles they play in the narrative experience.
The Main Character is a point of view, so she is defined by her relationship to the audience.
The Protagonist pursues the story goal, so she is defined by her relationship to the events in the story.
In traditional western stories, there is a single hero that is thrust into a new situation and must, herself rise to a new challenge or overcome a conflict in pursuit of the story goal. When this happens, the Main Character and Protagonist are the same character. Narrative designers, however, may choose to separate the Protagonist and Main Character into two separate characters to explore more complex or nuanced ideas.
(1) We learned this differentiation from Narrative First, check them out for lots of interesting insights into linear narrative and storytelling for popular movies and TV shows. For this topic in particular, we liked their definitions for Protagonist and Main Character as well as their articles about Redefining the Protagonist and the Main Character and The Confusion between Main Character and Protagonist.
Narrative Design is a framework and a set of tools that enable us to structure a narrative.
The dictionary defines a “medium” as:
n. An intervening substance through which something else is transmitted or carried on.
n. An agency by which something is accomplished, conveyed, or transferred.
In storytelling, a medium is the thing you use to tell a story. It may be a movie, novel, comic book, or video game. It could also be an oration, like a presentation at work or a comedy routine at an open-mic night.
It can also be an experience like an exhibit at a museum where the path of a person’s learning is coordinated over time. A mystery narrative may play out in traditional mediums like novels or movies as well as more interactive mediums like Mystery Dinners or an Escape Rooms.
As we look to the future, mediums for narrative include social media campaigns, virtual reality experiences, or coordinated scavenger hunts.
The Sage is a character archetype common in western storytelling. Typically, a Sage character helps guide the protagonist by introducing her to the New Wisdom and may mentor her over the course of the narrative.
Examples of Sage Characters:
In his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1973), Joseph Campbell talked about the role of The Sage.
In a modern advertising, Mark and Pearson use The Sage as an archetype for developing a brand in their book The Hero and The Outlaw (2001).
Ethos denotes the disposition, character, or fundamental values particular to a specific person, people, corporation, culture, or movement.
Ethos is a Greek word meaning “character” that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology.
Read more on Wikipedia
In philosophy, Logos refers to the logic behind an argument. Logos tries to persuade an audience using logical arguments and supportive evidence. Logos is a persuasive technique often used in writing and rhetoric.
Read more on wikipedia.
This word means different things to different people, lets explain why…
The midpoint tends to happen at the middle of the story…
(Also known as the Inciting Incident)
In the Wisdom Pyramid model, the Pre-Conceived Notion refers to the worldview that a character has in the beginning of the story. Over the course of the story, it will be replaced and challenged by the New Wisdom.
We draw the influence the Pre-Conceived notion has over the protagonist with the red triangle.