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Behind The Scenes - TEK - The Mistaken Protagonist · 6:11pm Jul 23rd, 2019

Hi everyone!

I've kinda been having a supremely awful couple of weeks, so I'm gonna cheer myself up by writing about MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE EL SERIES which is that the main character isn't the protagonist. 

ANYWAY SO YEAH READ AHEAD (and also slight spoiler warnings)

A few months back, I had this really cool idea about doing behind-the-scene blogposts about stories, which I didn't end up doing because self-esteem issues and THE USUAL. However, I recently came upon one of them, and I kinda want to discuss it. Because I'm absolutely not in the headspace to imitate whatever style I had going on 3 months ago, I'm just gonna copy-paste what I had and we'll go from there. 


Hi everyone!

In an attempt to reinvigorate my passion for writing as well as be able to share some behind-the-scenes thoughts on the things I’ve been working on, I’ve decided to take note from the past and bring back my chapter commentary blogposts.

Basically, I’m gonna ramble about writing stuff and thoughts to hype me up on my stuff, and hopefully entertain you while I’m at it. 

For the starting blogpost, I really want to delve into one of my favorite things of the Enchanted Library series: the sudden POV switch from TEL to TEK, and the fact that for most of TEL, Rarity was certainly the POV character and the main character, but never the protagonist.

Enchanted Library seems to be about Rarity, right? She’s our hero, our protagonist, and you would think the one who goes through the most change throughout the tale. Or, at least, that’s what I told myself when I first set out to write TEL.

For once, Rarity would be the dashing heroine come to rescue the beautiful princess from her awful treebrary and, as such, a huge thing for me when plotting out the story was plotting out Rarity’s emotional character arc. 

I mean, she had to have one, right? She’s the main character! She’s the protagonist! 

Except she’s not, is she? 

 I want to paraphrase (or, copy paste, basically) the following definitions that I extracted from a writing blog that seems legit. ((NOTE FROM PRESENT MONO: okay so past me didn't source this, so I'll go looking for it and update the blog later Here's the source for it, it's an interesting read). 

In most cases, “Hero,” “Main Character,” and “Protagonist” are the same character.


Now, for readers who are still with me, let’s try to come up with more specific definitions for these three terms, and explore why they may apply to different characters in certain stories.

My incredibly-simplified definition: this is the character who you hope to see “win.” While it’s fine to think of Superman, or Aladdin, the hero doesn’t have to be noble, or courageous, or especially talented. As long as you’re rooting for him, that’s what matters.

Main Character
Just what it sounds like: this is the character who the story is mostly about. Confused? Often his or her name is in the title: Shrek, King Arthur, Tootsie, Citizen Kane.

The character who changes over the course of the story, travelling from Point A to Point B, either literally or figuratively. She learns and grows as the story progresses. Generally, Protagonists want something at the start of the tale, and discover they need something else.

Back when EL was still in it’s planning stages, back when I thought Rarity encompassed all three definitions (protag, main character, and hero), I had a very different ending for EL planned. Back before this became a metaphor for mental abuse, it was absolutely Rarity who was going to save Twilight from the library. 

But then the story changed because as much as I love Rarity, as much as she was the main character, the real protagonist of the story was Twilight. 

Looking back, Rarity hardly changed during EL, or perhaps not as much as Twilight did. As Undome points out in the comments, she does grow into a leader and she does have a romance arc in her feelings for Twilight, but it’s also true that this core of the story never was about Rarity changing and developing. 

From start to end, it is Twilight who changes. The Twilight Sparkle from Act 1 of TEL is miles different than the one from the end of Act III, and LEAGUES different from the Twilight now present in TEK. 

On the other hand, the Rarity from Act I of TEL is virtually the same as the Rarity from Act III. The Rarity from TEK, though… 

- - - END OF COPY PASTA - - - 

Thank you, past Mono. 

So, taking back from where I left off, Rarity from TEK is absolutely not the same pony as Rarity from EL, and this was something I wanted to explore from the very beginning. Back when the time skip first happened, I recall concerns of the time skip being done for THE DRAMA AND FOR SHOCK VALUE and then we'd return to status quo. This was a valid concern, but ultimately an incorrect one as part of the reason I wanted the time skip was because I wanted to explore not just the repercussions of it, but I wanted to explore the role reversal as well. 

As Luna said it in a recent TEK chapter, Rarity and Twilight have switched roles in more ways than one, both in a meta sense as they did in a story sense. While in EL, Twilight was the mystery Rarity and the readers were trying to figure, TEK now has the reverse. Let's look at it this way. Though she didn't mostly change during TEL, it was actually the aftermath of TEL itself that changed Rarity. TEK, or at least the first few arcs, is to Rarity what TEL was to Twilight. TEL was her origin story.

What I was talking about earlier about the protagonist VS main character is, I think, one of the things I executed very well in EL because the POV switch was so seamless. Switching to Twilight when she was freed seemed like the natural thing to do, and it worked. She transitioned from just the protagonist to protagonist and main character!

Which left me with possibly my favorite thing about TEK. 

The fact that Rarity, for all intents and purposes, is not only just as much as protagonist now as Twilight is, but she also thinks she's the main character, which means that from her own side, she has her own agenda completely independently from Twilight. Does that make sense? 

It's been an incredibly fascinating and difficult journey for me as a writer because this means that when I'm writing, I need to write the entire chapter from Rarity's perspective and then write the main chapter from Twilight's perspective while complimenting it with the Rarity POV. 

There's a conversation in an earlier chapter that I goddamn love because even though the entire conversation between them is about half a page long, there's about seven different threads happening in it. 

What Twilight is saying, why she's saying these things, What Rarity is saying, why she's saying these things, what Twilight thinks Rarity is saying, what Rarity thinks Twilight is saying, and then the actual surface conversation going on.

Absolutely everything is informed by this Rarity POV Tek I have to constantly write in my mind. 

I also love the fact that I could have absolutely stayed with Rarity for TEK, have all the same plot points, and yet we’d be reading a VASTLY different story, which I’ve sort of been hinting at in some interludes and some sidestories. 

As things stand now, the Seeking Night chapter is going to take place the chapter after the next one, and I’m incredibly excited for it it because once we hit that, things I’ve been setting up both in EL and TEK are going to start falling into place, and more than that, the Rarity storyline, the Twilight storyline, AND the mental health storyline are finally going to converge in what is honestly one of my favorite story arcs. 

Ultimately, the most important thing is that regardless of who is the protagonist and who is the main character, both Rarity and Twilight inform each other's stories. You can't have one without the other, or else there would be no story.


Thank you for reading my self-indulgent ramble on writing! I hope you enjoyed it, and that it made somewhat sense, and before I forget, if y’all are going to Bronycon, don’t forget to hit me up! I’ll do another proper blogpost about BC this weekend, but small reminders are always good.


- Mono

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Comments ( 14 )

Huh, I never thought about it in those terms. That's a cool perspective.

Rarity being somewhat static (though she does have her arc with respect to her feelings for Twilight and some other things -- I'd argue she grows into a leader as well over the course of TEL) I actually kind of picked up on when I was trying to figure out how to write Rarity myself. I got stuck trying to plan out an arc for her for one of my stories, so I figured I'd try to take inspiration from TEL, because if there's one author I should be learning to write Rarity from, it's you. I realized when analyzing TEL that Twilight changed more than Rarity, and I think I was getting the duality vibes off their split roles without realizing it. Thanks for making this blog post and explaining it all out -- it's really helped make all the puzzle pieces slot into place for me.

Damn that's a lot of arcs coming together. And now I'm curious as heck towards that vastly different story too :derpytongue2:

Huh. (reads a second time) I hadn't really locked down the Hero/Protagonist/Main Character when I was writing Drifting, I just naturally thought it was Turpentine, since I fought so hard to keep it straight in his POV. I didn't even see the shifting roles in the other four characters while I was writing, BUT I knew where I wanted to wind up.

Did I mention how much I learn about my own stuff when I'm reading and re-reading your stuff? Because I do.

That was a really interesting read. I hadn't thought about the fact that Rarity didn't change that much over the course of TEL.

Yes, please. I for one am always interested in authors’ thoughts on their writing processes. :twilightsheepish:

I'm glad you liked it! And I've edited the blog to add in the points you made about her changing because she did change in some ways, just not as prominently as Twilight. I think TEK is where we really see the impacts EL had on her.

HONESTLY SAME, I'D LOVE TO WRITE THE RARITY POV BECAUSE IT WOULD BE A WILD TRIP, but for now I think Twilight's story is the one that needs to be told.

Aww, thanks, Georg! I'm really glad I can help :D Part of the reason I really like writing about my writing process is because maybe other people might find it useful.

Thanks, Sigma!! I'm glad you liked it.

In that case, I shall try and write more of these 👀

Thanks for that insight into your thought processes Mono, that was very well said. I've always liked the idea that the hero/main character/protagonist need not be the same character. Or, that a story need only have one hero/main character/protagonist.

There's always after. But in that after there'll be more RariTwy to be told, so dunno. Still, the drama!!

Huh. It's true, Rarity was mostly telling Twilights story. Neat.

Of course, by those definitions, Rarity and Twilight are both the heroes from where I sit reading and rooting for them. :raritystarry:

This works. :twilightsmile:

Always find these interesting to read and learn from.

Mono, In case you haven't noticed, you are objetively a good writer. (and subjetively too!)

I know I already say it at every opportunity, or at the very least imply it, but seriously. The amount of work you put into details, the fact that you're writing a lot of things we don't see, just so that what we do see is consistent, complete and good... It's inspiring.

And all that work shows. You're one of the few authors that puts visible feels on the words. I can't describe it. It isn't just knowing what they characters feeling, it's feeling along, in a fantastic emotional rollercoaster.

Please, if you ever doubt of yourself, know that I think you are amazing, and my favourite artist, ever.

That's what makes it such an intersting and different story

Every time I revisit your works, I am in absolute awe of you and your skills. The whole "seven threads" thing is mind-bogglingly complex, and it fascinates me. Thank you for this insight!

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