1. MacGuffin
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    MacGuffin Member

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    How much should I focus on main character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MacGuffin, Aug 27, 2009.

    Hi,

    I am writing a novel length piece and have a main character that is seeming to dominate the story.

    His is in every scene and everything is written from his perspective.

    Now I am at the early stages but feel I need to let other characters have a look in. Is this normal? When you write do you concentrate on one character/plotline first and then build around it? Should I keep with my main character until the end and then add sub plotlines and scenes which don't feature the main character or are not written from his perspective?

    Or does this not matter? Is it just personal choice?

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    It depends on your style, and the circumstances of your plot's events.

    Mostly your style, though.
     
  3. JohnLaylian
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    JohnLaylian New Member

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    It would be normal for main character to dominate the story, since the story would be told in his/her perspective. If you think there are too much scenes with the main character involved, you could write one or more off-course chapters focusing on other characters (i.e. Harry Potter series)

    Like Billy wrote, it depends on your style and the events though
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Every time someone asks a question like this, one word comes to mind: RELAX. You're worrying too much. I've read tons of novels that, though they do have one or two central characters, also have many many scenes told from the point of view of other characters. We all have. Depending on the story, it's not always necessary to even have one central character. Think of the enseble cast.
     
  5. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    The MC will be in every scene unless you write from multiple points of view.
     
  6. BP0
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    BP0 New Member

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    I don't personally see this as a problem. You're writing the story from his perspective, so the reader will generally expect him to be in every scene. If you wanted to switch it up, you could always have him say something from someone else's perspective.

    For example, he could say something that someone else had told him, since he wasn't there. That would keep the narrative but switch up the perspective a bit.
     
  7. donnatheawesome
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    donnatheawesome New Member

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    i would give other characters a chance otherwise it will be blan and inly have som many characters.
     
  8. Folken24
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    Folken24 Member

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    I think you could try both. Try writing your story from beginning to end with one main character, and then try exploring other characters. You may decide you want to have more than one main character, or you may decide to create separate stories that are taking place simultaneously.

    I've seen a few instances where the author chose to have "story 1", and near the end of the story the main character is being arrested for drunk and disorderly behavior.

    In "story 2", in one of the earlier scenes, two young girls are walking down main street and they stumble across that same character being arrested, but he's not the main character of "this story".

    I would say at this stage you can try whatever you want, experiment. If you don't like where something is going, turn around and try something different.

    Personally I like to develop side stories where my secondary characters are main characters. I think it helps to make the whole world feel more real.
    You might spend five minutes talking to your friend on the phone, and in the story of your day he's minor, but he has an entire story that he's living too.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The main character, the protagonist, and the viewpoint character need not be the same person.

    The main character is the one around whom most of the action of the story focuses upon. He or she is the actor in the central plot, striving for the principal goal.

    The viewpoint character is the one from whose perspective the story is told. It's not uncommon to have multiple viewpoint characters in a story, particularly in a novel.

    The protagonist is the character the reader most wants to succeed. You might not want the main character to succeed. This does not automatically mean the main character is a villain, but it does mean that achieving the principal goal appears to be undesirable.

    There's no simple answer to how you should fill these three roles. Every selection changes the story told about the same series of events. For example, Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card follow essentially the same events, at least the major ones, but they are completely different stories because they focus on different main characters. In both of these books, the protagonist, the main character, and the primary viewpoint character are the same person (with excursions intp other viewpoint characters).

    Consider the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes is the main character and protagonist for all, but the viewpoint character is Dr.Watson. The stories would be very different indeed if told by Holmes himself.

    In Thomas Harris' novel Hannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lector is the main character, but he is most assuredly not the protagonist. Although you may marvel at him and even admire his ingenuity, you really do not want him to succeed.
     
  10. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I find that not only do I prefer to help those who give an example, but that it makes any advice given to be much more pertinent.

    So-- how about an example? A single scene that you want to switch over? Maybe just a concept of something you want to do?
     
  11. MacGuffin
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    MacGuffin Member

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    I didn't give an example because that would mean explaining the whole premise and taking up everyones time.... but here goes.

    I'm now thinking of including a scene which involves the bodies of pilots falling from the sky. This is something that the protagonist is causing but I think it could be an effective scene if you don;t see him at all, only th effect of what he's doing (the falling bodies)

    This is where the protagonist is taking revenge for an earlier loss and falls mind way through the story.

    Now as were on the topic, do you think this could work well as a newspaper article. So you have standard prose for the other chapters... but then this one chapter is a newspaper excerpt about 'the night it rained bodies'.

    Or do you think that would stick out like a sore thumb?

    Another area where I want to drop away from the protagonist is where we get a bit of exposition about another character (an ex spy who used to work with the protags father who is now dead) At the moment I have him basically telling the protag (no he doesn't have a name yet) about his past.

    Now this did originally end up like huge chunks of dialogue with the old guy simply talking to the kid but I have refined it a bit so that it is almost like a sub plot (it does link into the main plot later) only it is written in the first person rather than the third.

    I am having trouble with the transition between these two modes though and, as an aside, is it a good idea to mix up first and third person like this? I think it works but I am too close to the rock face at the moment to get a good grasp of the overall picture.

    Cheers for help so far!
     

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