Creating Strong Protagonists (Screenwriting Blue Books)

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No More Passive Protagonists!

A step-by-step guide to creating "take charge" protagonists. Screenplays are about characters in conflict… characters in emotional turmoil… Strong three dimensional protagonists who can find solutions to their problems in 110 pages. But how do you create characters like this? How do you turn words into flesh and blood?

Character issues, Knowing Who Is The Boss, Tapping into YOUR fears, The Naked Character, Pulp Friction, Man With A Plan, Character Arcs, Avoiding Cliche People, Deep Characterization, Problem Protagonists, 12 Ways To Create Likable Protagonists (even if they are criminals), Active vs. Reactive, The Third Dimension In Character, Relationships, Ensemble Scripts, and much, much more! Over 63,000 words of techniques!

Professional Screenwriter William C. Martell (19 produced films) takes you into the world of strong protagonists, showing you step-by-step how to find the best lead character for your screenplay.

Product Details

  • File Size: 517 KB
  • Print Length: 204 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: First Strike Productions (August 13, 2011)
  • Publication Date: August 13, 2011
  • Sold by: ¬†Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005HAS334
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray: Not Enabled
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Customer Reviews

Martell knows his stuff

14 people found this helpful.
 on September 5, 2011
There is no formula, no blueprint, for high quality screenwriting. Too many people who offer themselves up as screenwriting “teachers” try to give people a blueprint or “how-to” system for writing a screenplay as if developing and writing a high quality screenplay is akin to putting together a set of shelves from Ikea. Martell isn’t one of those screenwriting teachers. Martell isn’t going to tell you to make sure to put your inciting incident on page 30 or to make sure your hero gives a stray dog some food in order to make him likeable. Martell breaks things down to their base level, trying to get the reader to understand the “why” behind it all rather than just telling you the “how to”. Using multiple examples from existing movies and screenplays, Martell helps the reader to truly think about and understand what they’re doing when creating characters (as in this specific book), allowing readers to honestly create their own, more realistic characters rather than just offering up a carbon copy (carbons are things that old people used to make copies. Ask me about my mimeograph machine some time if you’re interested in ancient copying techniques) of what the reader has seen before (or what some so-called screenwriting expert told them to make).

Five Stars

2 people found this helpful.
 on February 24, 2016
By Juan Taylor
This Blue Book has tools and tips to create great characters especially for Hollywood motion pictures but also for stories in general.

One step beyond other screenwriting books

8 people found this helpful.
 on September 21, 2011
By William B
Bill’s Blue Books were recommended to me by a producer back when they were only available as traditional, printed books. In the years since, others in the industry have mentioned them as essential reading. There is a simple reason why they are highly regarded in Hollywood. They’re good.

A Rich and Colorful Resource to add to your digital bookshelf.

 on April 8, 2016
Don’t be fooled by the simple design of the cover. This and the other books in this series are a rich and colorful resource to have on your digital bookshelf, full of information to help in your screenwriting journey.

Put Your Hero to the Test

One person found this helpful.
 on November 23, 2013
By J Carl
Hands down, the best book I’ve ever read on creating a strong, likeable protagonist. Whether you’re writing books, scripts, short stories or poetry, this book will guide you into greatness. Think you’ve developed a great hero? Compare it to what William Martell says in this book and you might be surprised at how much you missed. Truly, an excellent gem from anyone serious about creating strong, likeable protagonists.

Practical Stuff for your screenwriting

 on June 5, 2013
By Robert A. Byrne
There are plenty of books out there on screenplay structure and “start to finish” instructions. Lots of them quite helpful. William Martell’s Blue Books aren’t about all of that. Each focuses on a singular element of your screenplay and then provides LOTS of useful information, examples and insights. His ‘Visual Storytelling’ (amazon review up) is a treasure trove on learning how to “show, not tell.”


 on May 17, 2017
By whitelotus23
I have read almost every book on screenwriting. But these books by martell have been most helpful.

Worth it !

 on October 18, 2012
By b
Well worth the price. I especially like the suggested exercises because it gives you the chance (and the gentle push which is more important!) to actively apply the suggestions to your own writing. Otherwise it’s too easy to passively gloss over important info. I read the whole thing, planning on going back and working my way through the exercises now.

Another Wonderful Martell Blue Book

 on January 5, 2015
By S. Crane
Just finished this Blue Book in William Martell’s series and I gotta tellya, I had so many forehead smacks it hurts when I raise my eyebrows. This is not just excellent stuff – it’s step-by-step, how-to, and examples of how it’s worked (or not) in Hollywood successes (and flops). I saw five big (and ten to twenty small) ways to make my scripts better and I can’t wait to get writing! Thanks, Bill!

Great advice on creating protagonists!

 on February 11, 2014
By bull dozer
Really helped me out on making me think what should go into a great lead character. This is my third Martell book. So far, I’ve found them all to be quite helpful.

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