1. Kallisto
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    Kallisto Active Member

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    Proper introductions of a deuteragonist

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Kallisto, Jul 27, 2015.

    Normally with a protagonist I introduce them by giving the reader a brief "a day in the life of..." This is where I show the reader how the character lives, prior to me spinning it completely out of control with a conflict they must then go and resolve.

    The question is if this can also be done with the deuteragonist who is almost (but not quite) as important as the protagonist?

    So how would you properly introduce a deuteragonist?
     
  2. C. W. Evon
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    C. W. Evon Member

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    Mmm well I don't normally do those types of introductions (nothing wrong with them, just am not experienced).

    But I can tell you what I'm doing in my book with two viewpoint characters and you can see if it works for you. The second character really doesn't drive the action, so she's not as important as the protag, but she is way more reasonable and perceptive than he is. So her POV is necessary because she can tell us things that he would never have noticed. I'm going to stay in the protag's head until I finish the book, so I haven't written her chapters yet. When I do, I think I'm planning to start from the time she meets the protag.

    So I'd probably recommend introducing the protagonist first, then introducing the other one whenever they become important to the plot.
     
  3. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Not sure, but I am banking that word for scrabble, right away. Thanks!
     
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  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm guessing from the definition that @Lemex and maybe @Wreybies are the only people on the forum that know what the word means without looking it up.

    I had to find the word for a two book series given trilogies were so common and I'm writing a duology. I got the meaning of 'deu' right in your word. New words are great.
     
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  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Knowing a bit of Ancient Greek goes a surprisingly long way. :-3

    It depends entirely on their relationship with the character, and also I guess what you do with them. Each situation and character relation is different.
     
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  6. Kallisto
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    Kallisto Active Member

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    Wow. So let's clarify. A deuteragonist is a secondary character. They can be an antagonist, a sidekick or a separate story.
     
  7. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    I know right? Fancy not knowing every single word in the dictionary. Criminal.

    I don't think there is a properly. If you do it the same way all the time it becomes a cliche, right? If you do it the same way as someone else's suggestion here it becomes their voice.

    I think this is one of those things where you need to do it your way. Like Frank.
     
  8. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Do you do this every time?

    I am about to start writing my first ever novel and was going to do it the opposite way. Start with as an intense experience as possible and then settle down into the frenetic rhythm of their day to day life.
     
  9. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm. Normally you only see "stasis" for your hero at the beginning, and it's short, but you probably could do this depending on how your POV structure works and whether your deuteragonist's life is upended by the fact that they meet the protagonist (in which case it would fit neatly within a story structure). You might also be able to do this from your protagonists point of view by having them see the deuteragonist in their day-to-day life and them watch that person get sucked into their orbit. Strangely enough, an example that comes to mind is the calling of the Apostles in the Bible - granted that's a relatively short narrative told in what I think we would now call third-person cinematic (maybe omniscient, but if memory serves we don't see anyone's thoughts). Anyway, the reason I bring it up is that how if progresses is that Jesus shows up on the Sea of Gallilee and sees Peter, James, and John all working as fishemen tending their nets before promptly upending their lives with a call to become his itinerant disciples. We're not so much in the disciples POV, and we don't get get much more than a paragraph, but we get a short snippet of the characters doing their daily business before getting sucked into the oncoming storm.

    And yeah, I know that's a really weird example to pull out, but it's what came to mind when you talked about secondary characters in a state of stasis - and from a narrative perspective it worked.
     
  10. Kallisto
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    Kallisto Active Member

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    I tried that (you can check out the thread in the novel's section) and reviewers here didn't respond too well to it.
     
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  11. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Interesting. I have, however, decided to not take too much notice of opinions of other writers. I am writing for myself first, and then other readers, but I will definitely check it out.
     
  12. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Wait what? I just had a look at that workshop entry and you're not doing what I am intent on doingl? The critiques say you've done a bit of an info dump then character introduction. I am intent on first person character experience, no info dump at all, all show of one intense experience.

    Did I miss something?

    Perhaps what I am intending on doing is not clear, which is understandable. Hopefully I get a chance to write something soon and post it.
     
  13. Kallisto
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    Kallisto Active Member

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    Okay, so what you're doing is worse. You're going to throw readers into an action scene without them knowing the characters, so they don't care. It's not a good idea, trust me. I've read plenty of stories where they do exactly that, and I honestly don't even know what's going on.
     
  14. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Wow.

    No.

    Like I said, my intent is probably not clear.

    And I am way too old to be told what to do ;)

    Thanks for the warning though.
     
  15. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    I did say intense experience, not action scene, btw. Just so we're clear.
     
  16. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Can you give me an example or two of the stories you have read plenty of that do this?

    I'd like to check them out.

    Thanks!
     
  17. Kallisto
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    Kallisto Active Member

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    That's ironic you ask. I can't give you examples because there are no professional writers I know of who write like that. Even writers who "start in the action" still have a level of exposition where you get to learn the characters, their life and get to connect with them. It doesn't have to be long, just enough introduce a character.

    The only ones who dump you in the action I've read are amateur writers who write like that and that's it. That alone should tell you why it's so important to read other people's work.

    EDIT: If they do put readers in an "intense" scene, it's not with the protagonist. It's usually with a second character.
     
  18. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    So you've read plenty but have no examples?

    Ok. Thanks!
     
  19. Kallisto
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    Kallisto Active Member

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    Are you completely oblivious to what I'm saying here? I think you are. Let me repeat. I cannot show you examples because the ones I have read are unpublished works. I'll put it in bold print for you. Unpublished works. Is that sinking in a little why that fact is so important? They are not published. In other words no one wants to pay to read them.

    And that's exactly the format you want to follow? The format of those books that no one wants to spend money to read? Okay.
     
  20. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Were they emailed to you? Did you read them here? Did you read them on a forum elsewhere that I could join and also read?

    Thanks!
     
  21. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I've also heard it referred to as a diptych, but that may be a bit of a stretch on meaning. ;)
     
  22. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, you can. MiƩville does this in nearly all his novels. We meet the main, the secondary (and the tertiary and so on) in different slices of what's going on. Rarely together. We are given a lead-in for each as a separate entity before they wind together as a unified story. A Home at the End of the World was also like this, though that one may be a little more difficult to reconcile since the four primaries are kinda' hard to rank. There may not really be a "secondary" in that novel, but regardless, we are given a window of why for each of them, very separately, before the tale spins together.
     
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  23. Kallisto
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    Kallisto Active Member

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    Well, critique often and you'll run into one soon enough.
     
  24. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Eeek, dip-tick sounds too much like dip-shit. :eek: I suppose I'm not pronouncing it correctly.
     
  25. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Hard "k" sound at the end.
     

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