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Pinchofmagic

Who's telling this story, anyway?

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Hi! My last two novels had multiple POVs, so I wanted to stick with one this time (if I can), but I go back and forth on who the main character should be, so... Maybe a dance-off?

 

Question:

Did you ever pick the wrong main character/s for a story, and changed it later? If so, why was the new one better than the old? What makes a main character interesting to follow (in your opinion)?

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The very first drafts of my novel were written from a character which barely turns up in my latest draft, I was getting so worked up and stuck that at one point I wondered whether switching POV to a secondary character which I liked was better... and it helped SO much. The story has moved away from what it was but now it is so much stronger for it. You can always write a section from a different POV character to see how it feels but it not be in te actual draft 🙂

As for interesting characters... I guess I like to follow characters who aren't too serious, other than that I'm not too sure! I think I lean towards preferring female MCs and I also write more female MCs than the others.

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I struggled with this for my current project.  I've worked on different versions of it for about ten years now, and the main character was always Fred or a Jimmy, who comes at a way later date in the overall timeline.  When I nailed down what story I wanted to tell first it became clear after two drafts that Fred wasn't the best POV to use.  I was too used to writing her as a jaded adult secure in herself and her abilities and she needed to be a child.  So I switched to her sister, Taz, and spent three drafts really constructing her base personality because, again, I knew her as an adult, though not as well as I knew Fred.

As far as why Taz was the better choice, she has an air of wide-eyed innocence, extreme hope, and love that just spills everywhere.  She takes the world in and always finds something to be in awe of, and that's the kind of perspective I needed to filter my world through to the reader.  During the whole process I found myself reevaluating Fred through Taz's perspective and it helped me let go of her adult character so I could find out who Fred the child was.  Which is good, because she's the main POV of book two.

It was a frustrating process a lot of the time, but I think the story came out stronger for it.

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2 hours ago, Sheepy-Pie said:

The very first drafts of my novel were written from a character which barely turns up in my latest draft,

I found this really interesting, it just shows what a squirmy thing a story is and how many ways there are to write it. It's almost strange how anything gets written with all the choices we have. I'm so glad that it helped to switch, and thank you for your advice on trying both characters. You inspired me to write them each a short beginning chapter, and see who brings the most interesting stuff to the table. Thank you!

And as for picking a main character that isn't too serious... *High-five*  and female... *Double high-five*

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2 hours ago, TricksterShi said:

As far as why Taz was the better choice, she has an air of wide-eyed innocence, extreme hope, and love that just spills everywhere.  She takes the world in and always finds something to be in awe of, and that's the kind of perspective I needed to filter my world through to the reader.  

I love this! To pick the personality who can filter the world in a way you need, that is great advice. And it reminded me how a POV personality affects the feel of the whole story so much. It was also really interesting to hear how the switch influenced your view of other characters in such a refreshing way. Very cool.

When I had two POV's in previous stories, I picked the more driven one to head the more action-filled chapters, and as for slower chapters I picked the one who had the more entertaining way of looking at life and normal stuff. I think that's why I'm struggling now, I got into that habit, so I can't choose. But you gave me a lot of good stuff to think about and I'll keep to my one POV-plan. Thank you so much for sharing, and for the great insights! The best of luck with your book series. :)

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4 hours ago, Pinchofmagic said:

You inspired me to write them each a short beginning chapter, and see who brings the most interesting stuff to the table. Thank you!

And as for picking a main character that isn't too serious... *High-five*  and female... *Double high-five*

 

Glad I could help! 😄

As for my MCs... I tend to write a female most of the time, in my novel I have 2 male MCs and potentially a third if I keep my Antag in as a POV. For primary and secondary characters it's actually at 6 of male and female atm. My female MC can more than enough carry herself though, she kicks ass quite literally 😛 (and bites the other MCs from time to time >.> ) 

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2 hours ago, Sheepy-Pie said:

Glad I could help! 😄

As for my MCs... I tend to write a female most of the time, in my novel I have 2 male MCs and potentially a third if I keep my Antag in as a POV. For primary and secondary characters it's actually at 6 of male and female atm. My female MC can more than enough carry herself though, she kicks ass quite literally 😛 (and bites the other MCs from time to time >.> ) 

I am definitely leaning towards the female character myself. She's got a bit of a heroine-complex and messes up a bit initially when trying to rescue some folk, so she turned out to be the more interesting one. Your FMC bites?! That is awesome. 😄

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8 hours ago, Pinchofmagic said:

I love this! To pick the personality who can filter the world in a way you need, that is great advice. And it reminded me how a POV personality affects the feel of the whole story so much. It was also really interesting to hear how the switch influenced your view of other characters in such a refreshing way. Very cool.

When I had two POV's in previous stories, I picked the more driven one to head the more action-filled chapters, and as for slower chapters I picked the one who had the more entertaining way of looking at life and normal stuff. I think that's why I'm struggling now, I got into that habit, so I can't choose. But you gave me a lot of good stuff to think about and I'll keep to my one POV-plan. Thank you so much for sharing, and for the great insights! The best of luck with your book series. 🙂

Thank you!  I'm glad it helps.  It's still a challenge for me, but I think it works for this project.  I think I'll be alternating POV chaps between them when I reach the third installment, by then I don't think it will be necessary to devote whole books to one or the other.

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8 hours ago, Pinchofmagic said:

I am definitely leaning towards the female character myself. She's got a bit of a heroine-complex and messes up a bit initially when trying to rescue some folk, so she turned out to be the more interesting one. Your FMC bites?! That is awesome. 😄

Oh that sounds great cause she might have that fall from grace moment of realisation and that can be fun 😄

And yes 😛 she bites, MMC had a little bruise on his ass for a few days to prove it. She uh... knows exactly what she wants and isn't afraid to do or say it. I mean she is also a shapeshifter and loves turning into a cat too, so that probably doesn't help 😛

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I've switched, though I only got 6 chapters in before I ditched the project. The character I thought was going to be the MC kept coming off as having a wet dishrag of a personality, while her 'backup' MC was full of spunk and was really easy and exciting to write. I'm planning on getting to know her better, and going back to write more later, once I've got this thing plotted. Because that was another issue with it, I was trying to pants so the character voices were totally lost.

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On 1/6/2019 at 4:39 AM, Pinchofmagic said:

Did you ever pick the wrong main character/s for a story, and changed it later? If so, why was the new one better than the old? What makes a main character interesting to follow (in your opinion)?

Yup! I wrote a writing challenge submission here on Worldsmyths back during the summer of the first year (so 2016), and in that, there was a totally different main character and my characters Arris and Merek were secondary. I wrote another writing challenge submission and this time I wrote it with Merek and Arris as the main characters, because I was drawn way more to them. I ended up liking it so much that I expanded on their story and that's how I got Storms of Magic.

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This had never happened to me. In my published novels, they were in first person, and... the main character was the narrator. So, it was a good choice. In the short stories/ novella/ the two novels I am still working at, the point of view is third omniscient, so... the narrator tells the whole story, highlighting the needed characters.

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20 hours ago, Penguinball said:

the MC kept coming off as having a wet dishrag of a personality, while her 'backup' MC was full of spunk and was really easy and exciting to write.

Lol! Dishrags are no fun, and it's amazing how a switch can make all the difference. I tend to pick the spunky ones too, they have the kind of personality to drive the plot instead of just reacting to it. :)

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1 hour ago, Elena said:

This had never happened to me. In my published novels, they were in first person, and... the main character was the narrator.

I think that a lot of story ideas actually come with a strong character voice attached already, and that's the inspiration. I've had that in the past, and never had to think too hard about who the MC should be... until I started with the two POVs. O, gosh, I would love to write an omniscient narrator. I started once, but chickened out and changed it to close third, lol! But one day, I will. 😄  

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