So has anyone experienced this before, and have advice on distancing the protagonist from yourself? When you begin character development, what do you start with?
Oh, I definitely relate to that!
Something that I’ve found really helps me is to take one trait of mine and give it to my protagonist, then build around that. I usually end up magnifying and exaggerating that trait, and writing in other traits that complement or contrast it, and by the end, the character isn’t nearly that similar anymore!
More often than not, the trait is actually some flaw of mine, so it’s easier to be both close and distant to it. It has often happened that I look at my protagonist and go “Oh, that’s so incredibly messed up, why would they be like that?” And then realize I unconsciously copied that trait off myself XD
Something else that works is to give the protagonist other traits that I don’t have, or even that I don’t agree with.
It’s not something I do consciously, it usually just ends up working out that way.
Hope this helped!
Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?