1. JayClassical
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    JayClassical Member

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    Two Main Characters?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by JayClassical, Feb 13, 2013.

    Can this be a hard thing to play with? I really want the reader to feel that my two main characters are equally important even though they are at odds and one of them has to die. Can you guys think of any books that pulls this theme off good. I might like to read it.
     
  2. niallohagan
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    niallohagan Member

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    Not sure of the top of my head but Im interested in this as my current project has 2 main characters also
     
  3. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Of course it can be done - George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series has several main characters (I believe the first book has about 5-7!). In fact, one of my favourite characters in that series (Tyrion) is actually a 'bad guy', but this doesn't stop me being on his side, at least in most circumstances. It certainly can be done. I suggest you read the series.


    Hope I helped. :)
     
  4. niallohagan
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    niallohagan Member

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    Ive read the series, very enjoyable. I think the OP meant just two main characters who's storylines intertwine a lot. Song of Ice and Fire does have many main characters but a lot of them are very far apart so its like many seperate storylines
     
  5. Lunatia
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    Lunatia Member

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    Sadly I can't think of any published examples, but I'm also currently working on a story with two main characters. Good luck! :)
     
  6. Show
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    Can't think of any off the top of my head but it sounds incredibly common to have several main characters. I don't see what the issue would be.
     
  7. JayClassical
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    JayClassical Member

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    My two characters are competing for the same thing but have their own quests. Its a free for all and they know they have to finish the other off eventually. I'm going to do my best to make the reader feel as devastated as possible when one of them dies. at the end :D
     
  8. Pyraeus
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    Pyraeus Member

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    It's perfectly fine, I have at least two main characters in a story I am planning out right now.The key here would probably be to make sure that readers care about both of the characters rather than just one or the other. If you have an overwhelming majority who hate one character and like the other then you will find that after you kill one of them off (the disliked one, let us say) then the vast majority of your readers will not care that he is dead. One thing I would like to know; is one of them a 'bad guy' or are they perhaps both 'good guys'? Or have you changed it up a bit extra and made both of them bad?
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    How about John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men? George and Lennie are the two main characters. And, yes, one of them dies. And the book is a classic.

    Stephen King's Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption is another example - Andy and Red are the two main characters.
     
  10. JayClassical
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    JayClassical Member

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    Their both good characters with righteous missions. They don't want to fight but it is necessary for them to achieve their goal. The true antagonist are the manipulators who put them through their trial.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ummm. The Hardy Boys? Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli and Isles novels? Irwin Shaw's Rich Man, Poor Man?

    And that's just off the top of me pointy head.
     
  12. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is this a trick question? Any romance has two lead characters to carry the story. Sometimes the POV is from just one of them, sometimes it's fairly evenly divided between the two of them.
     
  13. Mauthos
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    Mauthos Member

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    A great example of multiple main POV characters and definitely 2 main characters whose stories intertwine would be the Demon Cycle books by Peter V Brett.

    He handles this fairly well as a debut author. I believe the story is set to span 5 books and currently 2 are available:

    1. The Painted Man (Or The Warded Man in America I think)
    2. The Desert Spear

    The 3rd book is due out sometime this month and is called: The Daylight War

    I hope this helps.
     
  14. JayClassical
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    JayClassical Member

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    Thanks I'll check out that demon cycle.

    The difference between the book I want to write and the hardy boys is that the hardy boys are always together. My two characters sometimes don't interacts for chapters and chapters because they are doing their own things. I'm trying to write an epic. And romances don't count in this thread because the two main characters are not at odds.
     
  15. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    My story has two main folks. Clearly the thrust of the story follows one of them. However, everyone has a best friend, and while one might be more flamboyant, you don't play rock-paper-scissors to see who's the sidekick.

    Both of my characters are old friends, each has differing specialties. In fact, in discussing the book with others, we have even opined that any (dreaded) sequel could be easliy carried by the compatriot.
     
  16. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can this be a hard thing to play with? I really want the reader to feel that my two main characters are equally important even though they are at odds and one of them has to die.

    ^^^ You must admit that sounds like the plot of Love Story! And there is a small contradiction there...but anyway...
    The point is, yes, of course, there are countless examples of novels which have 2 main characters as you describe.
    For an epic, I'd say you can have even more than 2 main characters if you want. Oh, and good romances or relationship novels do not have to have the main characters "at odds", necessarily.
     
  17. JayClassical
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    JayClassical Member

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    Yeah but I also mentioned that they want to kill each other. And not comedically. I want to break that precondition that one character obviously has to be more flamboyant. and I'm sure its been done before its just an interesting process balances the reader's opinion of the two characters
     
  18. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    The problem there is that while the reader knows it's characters he's reading about, the "characters" do not know it's them that's being 'read.'

    In other words, for all I know, I'm the favorite afternoon soap opera star of the seraphim in Heaven. "As The Biker Turns."

    But I don't know I'm being watched by ethereal beings, nor do my friends with whom I interact. We don't flip a coin upon meeting and decide who gets to play that day's lead.

    If your characters are written as true, then each one of them must react as if they are the star of the story. They each proffer an opinion, they each have an individual skill set. The wife doesn't just sit mum and "carry her role" when she finds out there's a mistress.

    They say that a good attorney can successfully argue both sides of a case. In that regard, any character should be written with enough depth to carry the story. And it's that's the biggest criticism of superficial writing, the inadvertent creation of the "Mary Sue."
     

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