1. JessWrite
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    JessWrite Word Nerd & Proud! Contributor

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    Two Main Characters?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by JessWrite, Jan 21, 2012.

    Hi Everyone, it's my first time asking for advice, so here I go...:D

    I'm currently in the thought process, and going into the first draft of writing a fantasy story. The gist of it, is that there are two girls with very different lives that have shaped them into who they are. There's a twist between the girls and how they're related, and they eventually meet in the story.

    I was wondering how to go about having two main characters? Is it possible? Do one of the girls have to be more of the 'main' character than the other?

    Also, I was wanting to jump from one girl's life to the other by chapters...would that confuse the reader?

    Thanks so much! :)
     
  2. Hellchoseme
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    Hellchoseme Member

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    Try reading the painted man by Peter v. Brett. There are three main characters that the point of view swaps every chapter. The point of view will stay the same throughout the chapter. That stands if the other two are present at the time.
     
  3. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Hi Jess
    I have written a couple of short stories where the two characters are main characters.
    In fact I write stories where there are no main character.
    I tend to use less characters per story and my characters are all equally important to the story and to themselves.
    That is my style.
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see any reason why you can't do this. I've read several books that do exactly that. Sometimes the author shows the same situation through each MC; sometimes the author uses the MCs to progress, each one moving the story a little further. Neither character was more important than the other. As long as you can clearly differentiate the two, and don't do a slam-into-the-wall changeover, it can work just fine.
     
  5. miss sunhine
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    miss sunhine Member

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    No, I'm now planning a novel featuring two MC's and it's fine. As long as you make them very different and both must have a strong personality and importance in the novel, as you don't want one to voershadow the other. But no matter how different people are we still all have similarities. Plus, when you have two MC's you can create a stronger relationship with them. Another thing i noticed is when people first meet they're on their best behaviour, when they get to know each other they disagree more and argue. Someone once told me if you argue with someone that's good because it means you feel comfortable with them, i'm not sure how true that is.
    But i hope i help you
    x
     
  6. JessWrite
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    JessWrite Word Nerd & Proud! Contributor

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    Thank you all for your quick responses! I love hearing your insight and suggestions, you've given me a lot to think about. I'm excited to learn more. :)
     
  7. ZP3
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    ZP3 Member

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    I am writing a novel in which there are two MCs, one being slightly more, for lack of a better term, viewpointed? than the other. It is working out ok, though this is much easier to do in third person than in first I think
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My first novel has two main characters. I didn't think it was a problem.

    Look at some of Stephen King's work (I don't much like King, and I don't usually like using him as an example, but everyone is familiar with him, so he's useful in cases like this): Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption has two main characters, Red and Andy. Misery has two main characters, Paul Sheldon and Annie Wilkes. Did anyone have a problem with those?

    Just write with two main characters. It's not a problem.
     
  9. IrishLantern
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    IrishLantern Member

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    Shawshank didnt really have two main characters though. It was told from Red's point of view and the main character in the story he told was Andy Dufresne. And in Misery wasn't Paul the main character, and Annie the antagonist? It's been a while though... :)

    In response to the OP though, yeah I've read lots of books where the main character changes regularly. Sticking to using Stephen King as minstrel did, in the Dark Tower series of books, each segment will often change between the group of main characters, with each one focusing on the thoughts of one particular character. If the switch happens regularly in your book it will be easy for readers to follow.
     
  10. Kitty08
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    My current project is using a sort-of 'ensemble cast' model, so I have five main characters. It's tricky to make sure they all have equal representation, and that their personalities are distinct enough from one another. Switching viewpoints from chapter to chapter is probably the best thing to do in your novel. I do this sometimes, because my MCs are all coming together from different locations, but because I have five MCs I'd be writing super-short chapters. So usually if I have to switch viewpoints, I use ellipses between paragraphs to distinguish the new one, and perhaps put the location where that particular MC is. Or, if the MCs are in the same location, I don't switch at all (it's 3rd-person, so it's not really necessary) and involve them equally in the action and dialogue.
     
  11. Superevil225
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    Superevil225 Member

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    I've seen some amazing novels with large casts of main characters. Havemercy by Jaida Jones and Daniel Bennet has 4 equally main characters. It switches perspective between the four of them, and is set in first person. This allows a nice spread of equal main character-ness.

    Ryohgo Narita, one of the most creative minds (in my opinion) is somewhere between famous and infamous for his massive cast of characters. His novel Baccano! has over 20 main characters and about 17 books spanning over 300 years. The books seem to follow about 5 characters as the 'main characters' but the tv anime adaptation has over 15 equally main characters. Same with his Durarara!! novels. They have less characters but it's still around 10 equally main characters.

    Sometimes having a lot is good, other times it's confusing. If you can keep the reader interested and not utterly confused, you should be good. :)
     
  12. MegTheLedge
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    I'm working on something right now with two main characters, Lex and Eisley. It's in third person, but I have written some things in the past that were in first person and the POV changes.

    As long as you're always aware of where you are, you're fine.
     

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