1. Otterbarrick
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    Otterbarrick New Member

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    Introduce a character in the middle of the story

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Otterbarrick, Aug 14, 2015.

    I am working on a novel and I want to introduce a important POV character in the middle of the story. Is it OK or should I present him in the beginning knowing that their is no story for him until the middle?

    Thanks!
     
  2. PrincessSofia
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    PrincessSofia Active Member

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    I'd say do what you feel is going to work best with your story, don't introduce a character just for the sake of introducing him if he doesn't have any business in your novel until the middle, because from experience, when I try to write a scene just because I have to ( for a point in the plot to be logical etc) it feels kinda awkward.
     
  3. Jack13star
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    Jack13star Member

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    I personally enjoy a new character in the middle of the story, it can spice things up :)
     
  4. jorel
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    jorel Member

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    Having that seemingly insignificant character from the beginning of a story turn out to actually be really important just excites me - IF done well! You don't want for it to come out of the blue but for it to make sense (but in a way nobody can see it coming).

    That's the art.
     
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  5. Otterbarrick
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    Otterbarrick New Member

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    Thanks for your answers. PrincessSofia as the most useful answer for my story. It would be too hard to make it unpredictable in my case. It's a point of view character that allows me to show the antagonist situation, but could still help the protagonist despite their big conflicts.

    I introduce him in the middle of the story because it's his first encounter with the protagonist and little happen with him before. That said, a lot of books talks about introducing characters as soon as possible so I had to ask.

    Thanks again :)
     
  6. Christine Ralston
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    Christine Ralston Active Member

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    Introduce him in the middle. I've read lots of novels where a character is introduced later in a story...when he or she is needed to move the plot forward.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's nothing inherently wrong with it. There might be reasons why it's not done all that often, but I see no reason why it can't be made to work.
     
  8. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Frodo didn't meet strider until the prancing pony..... when he was needed to push the plot onwards
     
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  9. Capricorn42
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    Capricorn42 Member

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    I guess you can introduce a central character halfway, but IMO only if you're writing a looong novel so this new guy has plenty of space to tell his own story. It would be safer, i think, to briefly introduce them at the beginning. That way the reader can nod and say 'oh yeah. i remember this person'.
     
  10. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Not really... just because he is a main character dosent mean you have to give them a long back story., as long as the reader empathises and sees the charater grow within the plot... and pushes it forward then fine... there are plenty of tricks to get exposition out without an info dump or charaters at the begining.
     
  11. Entiter
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    Entiter New Member

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    I think that it would be best to introduce characters when they're supposed to show up, if they don't play any role in the story up to that point. Otherwise the reader just has this one extra name to remember in the back of their heads without understanding why. I also think that introducing a new character in the middle of a story is a good way to keep things new and interesting!
     
  12. thatoneauthor
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    thatoneauthor Member

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    No! Present him in the beginning of the story. Please! If this character comes out of no where it wouldn't be as fun to the reader if you'd introduce him earlier!
    Plant the seed early, then when it all goes to hell, that character you introduced earlier should save the day. Then he becomes essential to the story.
     
  13. hilal
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    hilal Active Member

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    Just my opinion: Foreshadow, are they relevant? 9 out of ten times(a completely fabricated statistic ) your reader will like the surprise. The lies of Locke Lamora does that.
     
  14. Shattered Shields
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    Shattered Shields Gratsa!

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    I say introduce him in the middle. Otherwise he would just be taking up space in the beginning.
     
  15. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    I'm confused as to why you'd even think introducing a character halfway through the story is a bad thing in the first place. Doesn't practically every story do that?
     
  16. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    I introduced several characters in the course my WIP, as they are encountered. As this is a 15,000 mile journey through Central Asia in the 1st Century AD, there is no other way.

    One of the more significant ones is a female, who plays a major role in the development of my female main character, and also completes the development of a male character who up to this time has played an extremely minor role. He in turn plays a major role in the development of her character. The two then continue on their way for the Altai Mountains in Mongolia, having served their purpose over about ten chapters, while everyone else continues on to Rome. I enjoyed these two late-bloomers so much I added an out-of-sequence vignette of her delivering twins, Mongolian style, in their new home, and the two provide an interesting and wholly whip-snapping contribution to the ending of the book.

    Another character was introduced in China, because I needed a Greek speaker with almost unlimited movement around the palace. He was a Bactrian Buddhist monk. As he also spoke Bactrian, he was critical to my characters' transit through that area... I got him back to his hometown in Bactres (Balkh) and dropped him off with a nice resolution of his issues.

    Bottom line, write what makes the most sense. Tell a good story and forget the formulae.
     
  17. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    You're introducing this character as a POV character ...which is a little bit trickier than just introducing somebody new on the scene, but seen through the eyes of your original POV characters. Is it possible to mention this character earlier? I do think it would work better if you could. However, the trick is not so much to do or not do certain things, but to make whatever you do work.

    Keep in mind this ploy will disorient some readers, so do what you can to soften the blow. Maybe mention something about what has gone before in the opening sentence of the switch, so there is continuity. If this new POV character knows one of the original POV characters, maybe a mention of their name/names might help? Do something to make the transition less jarring, and you'll probably have no trouble carrying the reader with you.
     
  18. siennaaiken
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    siennaaiken New Member

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    Great
     
  19. Burnistine
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    Burnistine Active Member

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    Go for it! If you get a chance, read Sandra Brown's novel, Deadline. She has a number of tricks she uses to introduce her new characters. No more than $4.00 on Kindle through Amazon. Worth the read. Riveting with actions. This book has a number of twists and turns and may spur ideas for your book.
     

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