1. Anomally
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    Anomally Member

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    To Rewrite, or Not to Rewrite.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Anomally, Jul 17, 2008.

    I have a story, about a young man from Canada, who joins the army to fight in World War II. The problem is I find that I don't know him as well as his best friend, who I believe is a much more interesting character, and whom I like much more than the MC.

    My question is this: Should I rewrite the story, making the secondary character the main focus, or should I let sleeping dogs lie and continue writing as it is?

    All I want is some advice. I'm really confused, and I'm not sure who should be the main character. I like both, and the story may turn out completely different than how I had imagined it if I use the secondary character.

    Has anyone else had this kind of problem? If so, how did you solve it?

    ~ Anomally
     
  2. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    Try writing both stories? There's nothing wrong with it and I don't see why you couldn't write them both, even if they turn out to be completely different stories.
     
  3. Daisy
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    Daisy New Member

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    I had this problem with a character once. I liked the best friend so much he began to take over as the focus so I pulled him out and sat him on a shelf for a bit, wrote the best friend in this particular story the way I'd originally meant to. Later I took the guy off the shelf and gave him his own story, he deserved it.

    You could also tone the character you're working on down somewhat and then make him the star in the succeeding novel.

    Klee's advice is very good. I might have tried that if it were not for my impatient personality.
     
  4. Asuran
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    Asuran Member

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    Perhaps you could use first person view limited to the best friend. This would incorperate both the original MC and the best friend. Sort of a Sherlock Holmes thing.
     
  5. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    If you honestly feel the best friend would be better in the main role, then go for it. Just expect there to be some heavy work involved. (You might have to completely revamp the entire plot just for him, and develop parts of his character that you weren't aware of yet, for example.)

    Don't, however, use shifting to the best friend as an excuse to not bother getting to know your main character. You won't always be able to shift focus to someone else when you find a main character boring or you don't know them well enough, so you'll have to work on developing them better so this doesn't become a weakness in every story.

    I have a story where I don't really care much for the MC, and find his co-characters to be much more interesting--but it's HIS story, and to shift the POV or focus to one of them for the entirety of the text would not work in my case. I'm going to have to figure out how to develop him and make him more interesting to me personally. There's no avoiding it sometimes.

    So--would you rather redo the entire story/plot, or the entire character...? :)
     
  6. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    A good example of that in the published world would be Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. He does exactly that, writes the story of the MC and then years later he went back and wrote the story of his friend.
     
  7. Flozzie
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    Flozzie Active Member

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    Just what I was about to suggest. To make a character interesting to your readers you have to like him/her, and then if you have found a character you do like I say write the story about him instead. I think it might make it easier for you to write the story as well, if it is easy for you relate to the character.
     
  8. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Parallel story lines!

    Develop both characters, but allow them their own story lines that will eventually merge later in the story. This is complex writing but great fun! While the parallel stories are independent, they must also be connected by common events and experiences that are observed from different perspectives.

    For example, MC-1 can see the war from the front lines...he shoots an enemy at point blank range, looking into the eyes and face of the soldier after the bullet penetrated deep into the man's abdomen. Your character can "feel something", as he watches the life apparently fade out of the man's body. Then, the scene changes and MC-2 desperately tries to save the enemy soldier with the terrible gut wound who was just brought to his field hospital for care. MC-2 struggles with the triage decision..."Do I let this man die, or can he be saved? What about my own troops waiting for care? Should I take care of my own first, even though their wounds are not life threatening?"

    Same enemy soldier. Different MC's, different reactions and different circumstances.

    At a later time in the story, the good friends come together as enemy troops overrun the field hospital and combat troops must fight side-by-side with corpsmen to save all the wounded.

    I am a big fan of parallel story lines with common events that link them. My wife also says she loves reading those stories because they have a lot of "movement" that keeps them fresh. In the end, your plot will bring together both "stories" into a single, unified climax...maybe they both die together when an artillery shell hits the hospital. Ouch! What an ending!
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    In complete agreement with the idea of parallel storylines from each character’s POV. This could be as simple as different chapters within the same story or book, or it could be completely different books. In Storm Constantine’s Wraeththu series, she writes the three books of the first trilogy from completely different POV’s, but they are consecutive in timeline. In the second trilogy, based in the same world, she tells the same story again, starting from slightly later point in the timeline and ending at a later point in time than the first trilogy, but from the POV’s of characters who had only minor roles in the first trilogy.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no one but you can answer that question knowledgably... and without having read the ms, no one can really offer suggestions that will be appropriate in re your story, either...

    first of all, is this a short story, or a novel?... the first is fairly simple to try both ways, or any combination of alternatives, while the second would be a major undertaking... if it's a novel, is it completed, or still a work in progress?...

    i suggest laying this project aside for a while and working on other things... then, when you come back to it, you may find a fresh perspective will make it easier for you to decide one way or the other...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  11. Anomally
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    Anomally Member

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    Thanks very much to all who commented. I particularly like the idea of parallel storylines.

    I think, though, with a bit more effort, I could make the main character much more interesting to myself. I just have to work harder.

    I do love the secondary character. Maybe I will make a separate story for him, sometime in the future. But, like Tehuti wrote, this story is about my MC and I suppose it can't be from any other point of view.

    Thanks again,
    [An] Anomally
     
  12. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    I understand your problem, Anamally. I always wind up liking my secondary characters better than my main ones. It's a problem I haven't figured out how to handle. The thing is, if I changed the story to focus on my secondary character, I'd probably wind up liking the first character best again. I guess it really just depends on you. Do you feel you would write a better story if focusing on a different character? Do you think it would help readers become more engaged in the story?
     
  13. Little Miss Edi
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    Little Miss Edi Contributing Member

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    Oooh! That is always a tough decision!! I think if I were in your shoes I'd do one of two things: Either develop two parrallel stories or just finish it and see what happens.
    Sometimes the character you like the most will do things that surprise you and those less popular step up to the plate and change your opinions of them.
    Good luck all the same! I'm sure you'll be just fine :p
     

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