1. Stoph Holland
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    Stoph Holland New Member

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    "No, this is the Protaganist, honest!"

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Stoph Holland, May 29, 2012.

    Good evening, Writing Forum!

    Im currently working on a novel that starts with my Protagonist in a prison of sorts. He only gets to talk to one person and only very breifly (he brings him food and they chat shortly before he has to leave)

    I then go on to introduce another character, breif outline of a few more to come, then back to him shortly and then introduce a few other characters and get them into the storys enviroment and -then- i bring the protagonist in, so theres a good like 20 pages or so between when we first meet him and the second time he comes in.

    However im not sure how i can introduce him more without breaking the structure of my story, which i cant realy bend too much as ive got a solid timeline worked out that has to work like such.

    One idea im toying with is a flashback to before he got into his current situation, tell who he was 4 years ago before it all hit the fan. but after watching Oasis of the Dead (google it and you will understand :p ) im not overly keen on doing long flashbacks as i feel it might be a sledgehammer to the story flow.


    Any suggestions for what i can do?
     
  2. The Blood Countess
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    The Blood Countess Member

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    Well, you have to put yourself in the reader's shoes. Do you think this method will confuse them? I personally would be a little unnerved if I had to meet the whole cast before sitting down with the protagonist and thus starting the story. It's like saying "Here's Johnny, the story teller, but hold on. You need to meet everyone else before we can get to that."

    I don't know the structure of your story, so maybe the character introductions would work. However, right now it sounds a little clunky. Is there no way to introduce the other cast members when they're needed, or at least reference them so the reader knows they exist and may meet them later on?

    A flashback might work, but if it comes too early in the story, you might lose your readers. It's equivalent to using a dream to paint a booming scene and, at the end, saying "Jake woke up. It was all a dream." <--- Not only is that disappointing, but the dream itself is like a blunt foreshadowing for what is to come. If you use a flashback any time before, I dunno, the third chapter(maybe the second, depending on length), than you're setting yourself up for blunt info dumps(so called "foreshadowing").

    However, I'm favoring the flashback method in place of literally going down the line of cast members. "This is Reggie. That's Paige...."

    It all really depends on the final product. I don't know how you're going to pull it off, so I really can't say if it will be successful or not. Is this written in Third Person to where you can jump from person to person?
     
  3. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    I'm not exactly sure what you're asking.

    Are you saying you introduce the protagonist briefly, then switch to someone else for a long time, and then return to the protagonist?

    If so, that can work. I've seen it done most often with prologues - the protagonist appears in the prologue, then is a late appearance in the main story. The big thing to worry about is that people may have forgotten the starting bit by the time you reintroduce that character. You can deal with that two ways: either write it in such a way that it doesn't matter if you remember that character or not, or work in some kind of reminder to refresh their memory.

    Another thought - does this character have to be the protagonist? Could you tell the whole story from the perspective of the interim guy instead? A lot of times I've seen people acting like the protagonist has to be the guy who is most plot-important or whatever, when in fact you can have a protagonist who does almost nothing of importance but is positioned in such a way to be able to see it all going on.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Your timeline may be predetermined, but where you enter the timeline is a choice.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm with The blood countess here. i don't see why they all have to be introduced before the story starts, but then I don't know the story. I'm just saying that it would annoy me a little as a reader If I had to go through a presentation of the entire cast before something actually happens. It's hard to say without knowing more about the story.
     
  6. Stoph Holland
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    Stoph Holland New Member

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    I did some tweaking, added a few more pages to better fleash things out and it flows much better now. Cheers everyone!
     

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