1. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    One or Many?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by GuardianWynn, Jun 10, 2016.

    Main character!

    Okay. I may be wrong on some details. But isn't Game of Thrones a popular example of a book with several main or important characters?

    I disgress. My question is this.

    Are both valid? For a book in modern traditional publishing?

    Obviously the one works. We know that. It is the easiest thing to think of. But what about many? Where the focus is the group dynamic. How they interact and grow from each other. Also moments of being seperated and learning alone.

    I think it can work. But I suddenly became interest in your guys thoughts. In both a conceptual art, or modern day publishing view.

    Like, do you think it is fine for a story but also most publishers wil shoot it down instantly?

    What kind of things do you think are needed?

    See, in my main story currently. It follows Valorie. And I realize it is sort of deceptive. Because the true focus throughout the story is going to be the group. But group one focuses a bit more on her. But not overly so. In a sense, she is the leader. The leader with the most action and most to learn. But she is gonna learn from all the main group.

    So, in book one, near the climax, I have scenes showing off some of the other memebers.

    Which begs the question. A darling I must kill. Or well done foreshadowing to future scenes? I know you ccan't answer perfectly from this. That is why the question is more conceptual to the concept.

    Thank you. :)
     
  2. ArQane
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    ArQane Member

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    My trilogy operates between 2 main characters, and it really helps me join plots together. It works, but is tricky. For me, both characters are going to be used a lot, but in about a 1:.(2/3) chapter ratio. Basically, one of them is more important. You should try it out, but its not too advisable for side characters.
     
  3. ArQane
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    ArQane Member

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    Forgot to mention multiple character views messes with time a lot. Be wary about it while writing.
     
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  4. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I can't answer your question about publishing industry (having zero experience with it).

    - Multiple MCs are fun to write about, but..
    - They are a whole basketful of trouble for the author. Imagine the work you have to write ONE character. Multiply that by *insert number here*
    - As ArQane mentioned, be sure to observe timeline. I'd never present the same timeslice twice
    - The number of pages grow. And grow. And grow. *multiply by number of characters, divide by the inverse of complexity of storyline*

    It boils down to: Better have a real good reason to write multiple ones. Do it only if the storyline demands it (i.e. the more complex, the more MCs). Be prepared to cuss! :)
     
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  5. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Ensemble casts are definitely a thing. They can easily be awkward, with some characters not getting enough screentime or development, but as long as it's done well I don't see it hurting publication chances. I'd suggest not waiting 'til the climax to really show off your other characters because of the development thing. But yeah, I for sure have projects with what I consider to be two to five mains rather than just one protag - I think the key is just making sure they all have their own things going on and no one is there just to serve someone else's plot. Everyone gets their own arc, everyone has their own story, but without it being a jumbled mess of unrelated plots just kind of happening at the same time. It can be tricky.
     
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  6. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fun fact. In my climax I reference the time shifts. They are subtle which has lead a few people to get confused.

    Like, chapter 20 ending with Water mage entering room B.

    Chapter 21, a man mentions how water mage is heading towards room B.

    or Chapter 25 there being an explosision, that is scene from different vantage points in chapter 27 and 28.

    Makes me feel better to think this is standard. I tink book 2 is when it really turns into that.

    Book one might be a bit more solo. I mean, 75% of the story is from one girls POV. But you get moments of the characters before this point. As in like you meet all of them from Valorie's POV, and later, when Valorie is busy with her part of the mission. I cut to their parts, with the goal of furthing there own character development.

    Does that make sense?
     
  7. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Yeah, I get you. The only thing I'd point out is that when most of a book is / has been from one perspective, switching it up at the end can be a bit weird and jarring and from what I've seen a lot of people don't like it. It might be best to keep everything from Valorie's POV in the first book and switch to multiples in the second (or work multiple POVs into the first more thoroughly).
     
  8. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, possible, except I don't wait til the end. Chapter 6, 10,11, and 15 all aren't Valoire. 06 being a villain! lol
     
  9. Buttered Toast
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    Buttered Toast Active Member

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    I have eight main characters but one that is more of a main than the others, the one main Character is detailed from the first chapter, and the story follows him to when he meets his friends (the other main characters) the others don't have a full background, and some you don't even meet their parents.
    These are some of their art works :)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nice art.

    So, how you found those 8 difficult? All sharing the spotlight?
     
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  11. Buttered Toast
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    Buttered Toast Active Member

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    They are a group so they all kind of need each other, they have there moments when one has the answers or needs help, so they each get a spot light but the story is about my main character and they are not always all together, some chapters are two or three of them, I have planned it that way so they all fall together later on so that it's not too much at the very start, I don't want people to get too overwhelmed.
     
  12. Buttered Toast
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    Buttered Toast Active Member

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    Sorry, I didn't answer your question, I don't find it difficult! at one point I actually call one chapter after one of my characters and focus on explaining who he is and where he came from, from the point of view of a school colleague who finds him hostile and rude :) but eventually he becomes part of the group.
     
  13. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Even GoT has one main character, one that's more of a main character than the heavily-watched secondary characters that seem like they share the spotlight.

    Ensemble pieces (that's where it's hard to decide which character is the MC) often obscure which character fills the top spot, but if you look hard enough at the mechanics of the story, you'll find him/her.

    And if you're asking because you're thinking about writing an ensemble story, I'd encourage you to do some digging on the Writer's Digest website. I'm sure they've covered this in one of their hundreds of articles.
     
  14. Auger
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    Auger Senior Member

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    I have my characters organically shape the plot. They each have their own plot threads that get tangled together and unraveled whenever it makes sense to do so. There is no main character, and nobody is special; anyone can get killed off at any time for any reason (like dying from a heart attack in the middle of a romantic arc).

    Space is a dangerous frontier, and plot armor kills the tension.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016

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