1. jej_jones

    jej_jones Member

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    Introducing a protagonist question

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by jej_jones, Mar 24, 2020.

    Hello,

    I'm about to join nanowrimo to jump start my second novel. I'm wanting it to open up with a teen girl solemnly jumping off a bridge, subsequently dying by suicide. My protagonist is a police detective that investigates it, but I don't plan on him coming in until chapter 2. It'll be first person, with third person chapters dedicated to my 1st chapter, and all chapters focusing on my antagonist.

    My question is: have you ever read a book where the protagonist wasn't introduced until chapter 2 like this?

    thanks
     
  2. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Contributor Contributor

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    Sounds like a prologue rather than chapter 1 to me? I see no issue with it if that's the case.

    Mav
     
  3. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sure, why not? Plenty of stories start with a minor character dying. Actually, as far as inciting incidents go, that is one of the oldest tricks in the book.
     
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  4. jej_jones

    jej_jones Member

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    Good! This would definitely be the inciting event for both my protag and antag coincidentally. Thanks for the pointer!
     
  5. JimS

    JimS Banned

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    I agree, sounds good to me as well.
     
  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    See, the problem is you're wanting to start your story before you even think it's where your story begins. I can't go two chapters without a main character to latch onto as a reader. I think two chapters is far too long. It's important to start a story in the right place. From there many things can be worked out with a bit more ease.
     
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  7. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

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    That sounds more like a prologue than a first chapter. Not really too keen on prologues myself as I find most of them pointless. Like why show a teen killing herself? What could you reveal in that that couldn't be revealed in the first chapter with the detective who is our main character. Of course, I find suicides sad, but it's not going to truly affect me. I don't know this character. And unless you want the audience to know more than the characters, as in her telling in that chapter why she's jumping, it may fall flat with a audience (no pun intended).

    I have read novels that don't start with the main character. I read one a while ago that opened with the antagonist (thriller I'm thinking it was James Patterson). I have read crime and thriller that opened with two boys finding a dead body. I just don't recall the names of the books because I've read so many and it was never a focus of mine.

    That's 's my opinion anyway. Hope it helps and good luck
     
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  8. jej_jones

    jej_jones Member

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    yes it does! Thank you!
     
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  9. Partridge

    Partridge Senior Member

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    I've read a lot of thrillers where some minor character dies, or discovers something which requires the attention of the protag.



    I guess it is more of a prologue than a first chapter. Not everyone likes them, but you can't please everyone. In the books I've read, more often than not they're just a bit of window dressing to draw a reader in. But who cares? If it works for your project, and it hooks people in, why not do it?
     
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