Several beta readers of my The Road to Environmental Armageddon manuscript felt I had too many protagonists. They suggested a novel of this type should have a single protagonist and a single antagonist. The antagonist remains an issue because I lack a personification of my real antagonist – the world’s inertia, an unwillingness to take climate change seriously. And the protagonist problem is also difficult because I’m trying to develop a reasonably realistic story about scientists concerned with climate change. It is inherently a slowly developing story that is unlikely to have a single protagonist taking central stage from beginning to end. I developed a story with three parts, distinct in space and time, that built on each as they approached a fourth part that finally comes to a what I hope readers will consider a dramatic conclusion.
I thought about throwing the whole damn thing on Marjory the Fraggle Rock trash heap and starting again with a time condensed story with a single protagonist before I developed my current plan. It avoids this protagonist problem by having a pair of protagonists for the each of the short novels that will build up to the fourth larger more dramatic grand finale.
Book one, The Souring Seas, has two protagonists, Tony Atherton, a graduate student in oceanography who you will have met in Chapter One if you’ve been following these blog posts, and Beth Manville, actress and environmental activist, Tony’s significant other, who you met in Chapter Two. There’s a supporting cast of a dozen characters about half of them reappearing in later books.
Book two, An Industrial Solution, begins about five years later and focuses on another pair of protagonists, Dan Delacour, another graduate student in oceanography, and Elena Llewellyn, an enigmatic character whose role I don’t wish to reveal. The third book, Future Imperfect, jumps another decade into the future and focuses on a third pair, undergraduate students Tomas Matthews and Luna Grange. The supporting characters in these two books include new and recurring characters.
The final book, Environmental Armageddon, is placed in the 2040s and brings the main characters of the three shorter novels together. The story ends in 2049 after the fools managing human activity on Planet Earth start a war they cannot stop.
I hope this works, generates a story that meets the ‘requirement’ for stories with single protagonist. If not, I’ll be visiting Marjory’s trash heap. Does anyone have her address?