Problems with my main character

As I work through the first few chapters of my current story yet again, one of the main issues I’m trying to address is a weak protagonist. For the last re-write of these chapters I intentionally focused on him having a lack of confidence. I thought this would be a good way to show the character grow as he regained that trait and took charge of his particular situation. Turns out this wasn’t a good idea. The entire story was written so that a protagonist without confidence simply isn’t believable. Damn. Now what?

Another aspect of this character is that he has been born with a special gift of magic. It’s a gift he doesn’t trust, and if anyone knew of it, he’d be ostracized. Not only that, it’s a gift he’d never been taught to fully exploit. There are some other twists to it, but this is the gist. By the end of the story, he will have learned the trick of commanding the better part of his real power, and use it to win the day. At first glance, it’s a pretty subtle bit of character development, but when I look back at what he goes through, it’s not really subtle. In fact, it’s the key change he undergoes through the story. From that perspective, it makes perfect sense that I should focus on his magic as the dynamic element, especially since most of the story revolves around his learning of magic. The next step is to go through each chapter and re-write to make him confident, perhaps to a fault, and instead focus on magic as the key aspect of character development. With luck, this change will make the story more interesting, believable and engaging. If not, well, I’ll just revise again.

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