1. Mohawk
    Offline

    Mohawk New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New York

    Leaving some mystery to the protagonist(s)?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Mohawk, Dec 31, 2012.

    So, in my latest idea for a story, I wanted to follow two protagonists who come from opposite sides of the social spectrum and find balance in each other. In fact, most of the plot, the character development, and generally nitty gritty ideas are mapped out. What's causing me to come to a stand still is mechanics.

    Perhaps I'm throwing too much challenge at myself for my particular skill level, but I have both protagonists with their own demons that I was hoping to do as major reveals and different points in the story. My question is, is there aI way to do this, but at the same time keeping the reader sort of in the dark as well. I find this difficult because the protagonist is someone you really should have the least questions about and the one you should understand the most, no? Or is that some elementary view on the whole thing?

    I plan to write in third person limited and dedicated a chapter to each point of view (for now). My thinking is to have the secret discovery be from the opposite character's POV, but I'm worried when I enter the reflective point of the secret bearer that it will be difficult to properly address without giving too much away.

    Is it too much to try and pull off secrets from the readers concerning two protagonists? I apologize if this is all scatterbrained. I get that way when asking questions.
     
  2. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I'm battling the same thing - but I'm starting to realize by with-holding so much from the reader - I'm killing my suspense.

    Look at your story from the reader's point of view. When you read a story you want to know what the mc is
    up to - do you really want so much hidden from you?
    You also want the mc to have a problem because you want to see how the mc reacts to it, what choices he's got and
    what choices he'll make. So you can root for him.
    If you thwart the reader all this - than the story becomes more of a cat and mouse just to find out what the
    mc's problem is - not his choices, decisions, or heart ache.

    What if you do tell the reader right off the bat what the mc's problem is - maybe other's in the story
    don't know would it really kill the suspense in your story or open it up?
     
  3. kitt.moss
    Offline

    kitt.moss New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    UK
    Not quite sure if I've got this right... but do you want to reveal the dark secrets of each protagonist to the other protagonist without telling the reader?

    I should think this is doable. Simply don't "show" the scene in which the reveal happens, but make it clear afterward that something significant has gone down between them.

    The reader will have to find out at some point though. And as a reader I think I might find the idea of secrets being revealed to the protagonist but not to me a little frustrating. Kind of like the storytelling equivalent of when cartoon characters go into a huddle and start discussing their fiendish plans...
     
  4. Mohawk
    Offline

    Mohawk New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New York
    Indeed, that's my fear as well. I feel like even if I allude to the issues, the main character is your car in a roller coaster ride. And you don't want to ride in a car that is missing vital parts.

    I'm feeling more and more like I'm going to just have to pick a character (mostly the one who is dealing with blotchy memories of an event) and just follow him through it. The main reason is, while I want everything to be a bit of a learning experience for both the characters and the readers, it may be hard to pull off. After all, if you don't feel like you know a character well, why should you care about him enough to keep reading?
     
  5. kitt.moss
    Offline

    kitt.moss New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    UK
    I can see what you're saying. My immediate thought is though is that there will have to be a reveal at *some* point, right? So, by clueing in the character but not the reader you're only delaying the reveal. Why delay it? If it's because it'll have more punch later on... well, you'll have to weigh up how much more punch it gives vs how frustrating it might be for the reader. Just a question of balance, really.
     
  6. Caeben
    Offline

    Caeben Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2012
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    7
    I think its doable, but my concern would be having a secret reveal come out of left field. If you want to have your protagonists' demons kept secret, I would think its best to drop hints about what the secrets might be (or just that they are keeping secrets from themselves). Or perhaps throw in a subplot involving other characters that the MCs know who are going through a similar situation and draw some connections between the MCs and the subplot. The idea is that when the secrets are reveled, the reader goes "Oh yeah, I see where this came from," rather than have the reader go "WTF, where did this come from?"
     

Share This Page