Multiple main characters

by Marissa

Question: In my book I have like 5 or main characters depending on how you look at it because there's always at least 5 but for one book I'll introduce a new character and they're important for that book but they might end up dying in the end. Not really sure where I was going with that but anyway I want to do first person point of view and I was going to do it for 2 of the characters but I'm starting to think about doing it in 3 or 4 of the characters. Most of the time they're together going on mission and stuff but sometimes they split up and they all have different view point on life and stuff. Which sounds better 2 point of view or 3 or 4?

One of the characters that would be talking wouldn't get introduced until the second book because even though she plays a very crucial part and is probably more important than all the other characters the story starts with book one but her story doesn't make sense until book 2 so in the first book I would do character As point of view and character Bs point of view but in the second book it would be character As and Cs so I don't know if I should still do Bs and I'm thinking about adding another characters point of view because he's important but not as important as some the others but his view could be interesting. Does that make sense to do? Which sounds better? Should I even put character Ds view point in there because nothing different would be happening with him and it would just be seeing the world through his eyes and he doesn't really play a crucial part like some of the others.

Answer: You are certainly free to write your series, or individual books, from multiple points of view.

The advantages are that...

1. You can use dramatic irony, in that the reader can learn things through the eyes of a secondary character which the main character never finds out about.

2. You can appeal to a variety of readers. Someone who likes one of your secondary characters more than the main character may enjoy seeing a bit of the story through his/her eyes.

The disadvantage is that the more time you spend telling the story through other POV characters you use, the weaker the connection between the reader and the main character.

It also depends how closely you want to narrate from the main character's POV. In a story that's tightly focused on the main character's inner thoughts and feelings, you may want to stick with one POV. If the focus is more on the external plot, there is less of a concern that multiple POVs will erode that intimacy. (Third person may work better too in a plot-driven story, since it is a less intimate form of narration--but that's not to say you can't make first person work. Some books do.)

Regarding D, if you're going to switch to a different character's POV, you should have a reason, such as the character having an important role to play when none of the other POV characters are with him.

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