1. Maiesk
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    Maiesk Member

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    My main character seems to be just a looking-glass...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Maiesk, Jun 10, 2014.

    My friend and I wrote a comprehensive fantasy plot, but we've realised that our main character - who the story primarily follows - actually holds no major part in the climax of the plot, other than being around as it plays out. He's from another world and brought into this one as a prospective saviour, but his involvement in the conspiracy that leads to the climax of the story is minimal.

    Is this normal for a novel? There are other main characters who are very much involved, but is it normal for the main protagonist to act as merely a bystander in the main plot?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Sure, it's normal. Sometimes the narrator is an observer and not the protagonist.
     
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  3. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Yup! This is right. Although I must add that it can throw readers for a loop if the MC/POV character isn't as interesting as the others. There should be a good reason we are in his head rather than the protagonist's. What is his quest/goal? What's at stake for him? Why is he involved (and stay so if he really just sets the ball rolling)? Does the observation change him in some way?

    I'm not saying you have to make your POV character the protagonist at all, but you want to make sure that there is enough at stake for the him unless he is only a narrator--in which case you want to create an strong voice and an interesting perspective on what is going on in the story. Ya know?

    Consider The Great Gatsby. Gatsby is the protagonist (very arguably), but our pov character/narrator is Nick Carraway. Nick as little to do with the action of the plot, but he's there enough to be involved and offer an interesting perspective on all the events.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014
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  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    An engaging story can be told from many perspectives, from the main participant(s) to those in the periphery. In this there are no 'right' or 'wrong' ways.
     
  5. criticalsexualmass
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    criticalsexualmass Active Member

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    sounds like your protagonist and narrator follow along the lines of "the great gatsby"
     
  6. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    In a lot of older stories, the kind of MC you envision was often a chronicler, a person who was there by choice or accident to witness great events and made the effort to record them while the "heroes" were doing the work.
     
  7. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    Yeah, I think it's perfectly fine, so long as it's done well. My novel is a bit like this. The "main" character seems little more than an observer of the heroes of the story, but gradually he plays a greater and greater role and he's eventually the one who saves the day. I like this though, because it detracts from the "Chosen One" plots that I really dislike. I don't want my readers to assume that the day will be saved and that a certain character will do the saving. I prefer it to be more of a team effort, if you like.
     
  8. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't do it. It's bad mojo.
     

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