I can't seem to choose my main characters, please help.
by Peter Hill
Question: My novel is based around several gods and goddesses who are the main focus of the story. However upon picking the heroes I seem to want to swap characters for others a lot. Is there any advice you have on dealing with this subject?
The important thing for you to do is determine your Story Goal. What are your characters trying to achieve in the overall story? What big problem are they dealing with? What imbalance must be righted?
Once you know your Goal, then you know that the climax of the story will be the event that determines decisively whether or not that Goal is achieved (the Outcome).
Your main character will be the one whose decision (whether or not to change) at the climax determines the Outcome.
It helps greatly if you also develop the main character's inner conflict, so that the reader cannot say for certain what choice he/she will make at the critical moment. That uncertainty is an important source of suspense and tension that will keep your readers hooked.
And in order to develop the main character's inner conflict, it helps to tell the story from that character's point of view. (How else can the reader perceive his/her inner conflict?)
Often, the main character is also the protagonist (the one leading the effort to achieve the Story Goal), but this is not necessary. Sometimes the main character is someone else who resolves his inner conflict as a result of watching the protagonist struggle with the antagonist - and goes on to play a critical part at the climax.
You can also tell parts of the story from the point of view of other characters, but the drama will be stronger if your main character is the primary POV character.