1. BlueR
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    BlueR Member

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    Is this a good idea?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by BlueR, May 25, 2008.

    I just got an idea for a novel...

    you have a main character who is killed off in the first few chapters, and then the story switches off to the real main character.

    For example: MC1 is the "main character" of a novel for 10 of 30 chapters... MC2 has a close relationship with MC1 and acts as a supporting character during these chapters. In chapter 10, MC1 is killed off, and the book switches and turns MC2 into the main main character, as he would be the main character for the next 20 chapters.

    Is this a good idea???
     
  2. Speck
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    Speck Member

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    There are rarely bad ideas, just people who write good ideas badly.

    This sounds particularly interesting though. I think you could pull it off...but not without risk. For instance, let's say the reader really likes the first MC, so when you kill him or her off, they just get turned off from the story. Characters can sometimes hold a story together...and unless the plot is amazing, it's hard to take a character from the reader when they have spent 10 or so chapters getting to know them.

    However, if you make the 2nd MC very, very, very lovable, then maybe you could pull it off. Work through the first few chapters letting us get to know and love him or her as much as the original MC. Kind of like...getting in the original MC's shoes. Example: If I died, I should still want my best friend to live, and I would be very interested in knowing if they did.

    Put us in the original MC's shoes, and don't mess it up, that's crucial. If we feel like the 2nd MC is sort of a 2nd chance, it'll work. Also, using the revenge factor (making the 2nd MC angry or very depressed about the original MC's death) or something like it, might help pull the reader back in as well.

    Hope this helped.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    It sounds very interesting and unusual to me. I don't recall hearing such an idea before.
    However, I'd take care whilst executing such a complicated twist. If the reader becomes too attached to MC1 and/or dislikes/is annoyed by MC2, chances are they'll be irritated by the change, possibly so much so they'll drop the story altogether.
    Providing MC1 is very likeable, and MC2 is slightly more likeable, I think you could pull it off. Remember, however, that you need a motivation for MC2 as well as for MC1 - perhaps MC2's motivation could be to avenge the death of MC1?
     
  4. Smithy
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    Smithy Senior Member

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    You also need to be careful how you handle the death of the first main character. If the reader suspects that you've dropped a bridge on him just to catch them out with it, they may not like it. His death has to be thoroughly grounded in the plot, not just stuck in there for shock value.
     
  5. Al B
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    Al B Senior Member

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    I suspect many would read such a tale and wonder why you had not kept it focused on the second character. It would be in danger of seeming like you started writing it without even yourself knowing where it was going. Worse, it might be seen piurely as a gimmick.

    Ideas of a similar nature have been done before (see the movie DOA, made in 1950 and remade in 1988 for an example of that kind of quirky tale).

    It'd be good if you could pull it off, but I imagine the rarity of such an approach has more to do with the dramatic difficulties of doing such a thing than it has to do with nobody having thought of it. It is certainly a challenge to your skills, there's no doubt about that.

    Al
     
  6. Palooza
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    Palooza New Member

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    What you can do is take MC1 and MC2 and have them in a conflicting situation. MC1 is a cocky leader who is always looking out for the big gain for everyone else, but as long as it gets him recognition. You can put his likability for his peers as somewhat forced on them because he is always right and is the best at what he does. You then take MC2 who is likable to the audience as well as his peers, but is in a whole different league than MC1 (MC1 wants to be a leader, where MC2 doesn't want to be a leader, but he wants whats best for everyone) MC2 has a conflicting view on the situation and thinks they should do it his way, with MC1 leading with his approach. The veteran (MC1) gets his way and they follow through with it, but MC1 was wrong, he dies and MC2 is thrown in as the leader and the story goes on with his idea.
     
  7. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    The Death Note manga does something similar (can't say more or I'll spoil the whole thing). Since I liked the DN equivalent of MC1, I was saddened, but I kept reading.

    I think this would work excelently if you plan for it, and perhaps (subtly) prepare the reader for such a switch--make MC2 start doing more, and make sure s/he's likeable to most readers while not a carbon copy of MC1.
     
  8. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    Like what's mentioned before, I think you should make MC2 more likable than MC1, so when MC1 dies, the readers won't be as disapointed.
     
  9. BlueR
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    BlueR Member

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    Hmm... thanks for the comments. I'll take what y'all have said into consideration.

    This is the basic plot for the story:

    This guy (MC1--nameless for now), is the leader of a gang in Washington, D.C. Recently he has been given certain "jobs" to kill specific people for a large amount of money by an unknown character. The guy takes Micah Brown (MC2) and trains him to become a reliable partner in his most recent job... the murdering of another guy, Gary Fox. In reality, MC1 is training Micah for a rebellion against the unknown man because MC1 felt that what he was doing was not right and he needed to stop the situation.

    MC1 is shot and killed, and Micah takes over the remaining team to continue the mission of murdering Gary Fox. During the mission, Micah figures out what MC1 really wanted, and begins a mission to kill the unknown man who started the whole thing in the first place.
    ...

    But this is a basic plot and is subject to change...
     
  10. Tex
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    Tex New Member

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    I believe what you want to do is called False Character..ing.

    It has been done many times before, and can be a good plot twist.
     

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