Why Might We Need to Use Bridging Conflict?
One of the most common reasons for passive or reactive protagonists is that our story premise doesn’t let our character get involved with the main story problem right away. Characters with no goals and nothing to do will naturally be more passive.
Does your story have a slow start? We frequently encounter this type of premise in stories with thriller elements, such as when the villain is progressing on their bad-guy plans somewhere beyond the protagonist’s awareness (like in their secret lair). Our protagonist can’t start working against the villain if they don’t even know the villain or their plans exist.
In last week’s post, I shared ways to tweak our premise and accelerate the point where our protagonist can get involved in the story. But there’s another way of looking at the problem of un-involved protagonists: We can instead work outside the premise by adding bridging conflict.