Antagonist and Contagonist..Do they have to be in every chapter?

by Kit
(Selden, NY)

Question: Great website! I hope you can help me. I'm in the process of writing the chapters to my novel. But I would like to have a chapter dedicated to my main character and her struggle in the second act. I'd like to keep out the contagonist and antagonist to allow my readers to start seeing a true change in her. But I'm left to wonder if both the antagonist and contagonist are supposed to be in every chapter. Can I leave them out of one chapter?

Answer: Absolutely. In fact, the story would seem very odd if any character other than the main character was in every chapter (unless the antagonist and the main character were confined to a small space for the entire story).

Of course, in a multiple POV story, the main character won't be in every chapter either.

You may have subplots and multiple throughlines that unfold over the course of the novel. The events of these arcs often need their own chapters.

The art of braiding a story lies in how you weave the various arcs together, telling part of one, then part of another, etc.

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Aug 11, 2016
Thank you!
by: Kit

Than you so much. That information is very helpful. I have abother question in regards to characters. Am I able to introduce a character in The First Act but more towards the middle of the ACT rather than the beginning?

Aug 12, 2016
to Kit
by: Glen

Again, of course.

Though I talk a lot about structure on this site, you should know that you have a lot of freedom as a writer. There are no hard rules, just guidelines based on what has worked for other writers. Don't let the guidelines stop you from telling the story you feel passionate about. Use them for ideas on how to make the story better. (See the difference?)

There is a general guideline that says major characters should be introduced in the first chapter, but lots of great books bend and break that guideline.

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