1. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Two Main Characters but Fearing one is Getting thrown in the Backseat

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Keitsumah, Apr 15, 2013.

    Hi guys, I'm actually quite far in a novel i am writing and am getting great reviews from friends as well as other sources, but I have noticed several things:

    1) my main female character (despite my wanting her to be the most important even if there are two main characters) seems to be falling back in importance the further i go in the story. Most of the events actually happen to her, but I fear she is not a well-enough developed character despite the way i portray her.

    2) the main male character seems to be getting more attention when it comes to inner conflicts, which is intended, but I worry this will cause readers to skip chapters in the book to keep with his point of view instead of reading the whole book. the main female character does not have very much internal conflict, due to the fact that she is tossed into situations that she must battle to get out of and has little time to worry about herself.

    Overall, im wondering whether I should go back and check over her reactions in her chapters and tweak a few things to add in some internal conflict, or if i should leave her as is. The male character has good reasons to have internal conflict despite a lack of action for a few chapters in his part of the story, but i fear that makes him gain more attention than is fair.

    For those who are wondering, the story does end up having them falling in love, though i am avoiding the mushy stuff and in fact just keeping them wary of each other for the first book up until she begins to trust him as they are enemies until later on. the male character is a guilt-ridden prince, and the female character is seeking revenge for the destruction of her village and the murder of her family. If anyone wishes for me to e-mail them a clip from the story for a clearer idea of what i am talking about, just PM yours to me and i will send as soon as i can.
     
  2. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Well, I think all characters are bound to have some sort of internal-conflict. But whether or not that internal-conflict is their central conflict throughout the story or not is completely up to you and your characters.

    Personally, as a reader, I'm not likely to try and skip one character to get to another As a writer, I intentionally minimized a character in one of my current projects, given him maybe 1/5 of the chapters that my other character has. However, this situation is different - he is my antagonist, and in order for the end of the novel to make sense and not have a huge ton of info-dumping, I need the reader to understand what he'sg oing through over time.
     
  3. Shadywood
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    Shadywood Member

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    I agree with Thornesque that I wouldn't skip a character to get to another.

    As we write, the characters seem to take on a life of their own. You first intended for the female to play a larger role but perhaps her evoluation during your writing has pushed her into a more minor role - is this necessarily a bad thing? My own action would be to continue writing as you are and when you are finished, go back and see how it reads in its entirety and then work on her if you feel she needs to be developed more. You might find, in the end, that her lesser/lessening role was important in the story.
     
  4. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    In my case it would depend on how interesting the book is overall and how interesting your heroine is compared to the male lead. If i don't really care about her, i am likely to skip a few pages to go to a more interesting part.

    I also came across this problem in my current project. The male lead who is the protagonist gets less attention at the beginning of the book, before secrets about him are unveiled and he gets the lead again. What I decided to do is keep it like that because it works better for the story and just make sure that even if he doesn't get the spotlight in every chapter my main character is still interesting and likeable.
     
  5. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Sometimes we need to face that our favorite characters and our main or most important characters are not the same. I have a story (a collaboration) with five main characters. One of them is my favorite. But I can't focus on her constantly. The stories of the other four characters are crucial to the progression of the story. Sometimes, I do get frustrated with the amount of time I have to spend on the others in order to keep the story moving. But it's a necessary part of the story.

    As Shadywood said - finish the writing as you're doing it now, and if she doesn't have enough of the spotlight when you're finished, you can work on it later.
     
  6. hnamartin
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    hnamartin Member

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    I think this all kind of depends on what the pov is. Is it third-person omniscient? First-person alternating? Or just plain-old first-person?

    If you wanted to keep the focus on her you could try staying mostly in the female character's head and only giving an objective, or her subjective view of the male character. He could still be a main character in this way but we understand that we are supposed to relate primarily to the female character. But if you want to be in his head as well, I think going back and finding places for internal conflict would be beneficial. Obviously, in doing this you need to be as true as you can to the character and the plot line and not force something. I'm trying to work out something similar myself.
     
  7. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Female character is in first person, and male character is in third person to answer your question hnamartin.
     

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