I am working on my first novel and in doing so I find that certain elements are becoming more clear where others still seem to be quite unclear. For instance I am starting to have a more clear understanding of my antagonist, my world, and my mythos but not of a actual story except generally. The worst part is that I don't have a clear understanding of my protagonist. In fantasy the heroes journey is much more obvious. How do you go about creating this journey without it coming off as cliched? I am sure everyone knows the format of the hero. It is common, but I am afraid that in crafting such a story that I am creating something that is Generic and flat. This will be my first novel and I want to make sure that it is well done. I also have heard that it is better for the beginning novelist to cut his teeth on short stories! Do you think this is true? Is it necessary or is it better for the aspiring novelist to get use to the novel format and its problems and then just write a lot. I think a perfect example of this is Brandon Sanderson. He is going to be finishing Robert Jordan's Wheel Of Time series. He had to write 13 novels before he got published. What is better. The short story route, or just write novels until you get the hang of it?