main characters and POV'S

by Tori S
(surprise, AZ, USA)

Question: I've been reading through the articles here (which I might add are the best things I've stumbled upon thus far) and have been giving it a go to fixing a story I wrote a few years back.

I've read through a lot of the questions that people had to help answer some of my questions before asking one so here's my attempt to ask a question that will hopefully settle everything.

I plan on writing a series (about 3-4 books) and at first I was confused about the story goal and plots (mainly because I was thinking of the first book not the whole story in general) and now that that's cleared up I'm still lost on how to pick my main character/POV in general.

The story starts with girl trying to find out a secret that was hinted to her by the antagonist of the first book and I originally wanted it to mainly be in her POV with few POV character changes to help the story along. But after many weird drafts and reading here I've been wondering if I should make the POV in her closest friend POV seeing as he knows the truth about everything and his character story seems to have more going on. However to write in his POV would give out the big over all secret that I intend to reveal later in the book.

I guess my question is how to integrate both of them together because eventually she does find out and becomes a part of his world.

Also, would it be best to write in third person for this? Because it seems kind of hard to be in third person without wanting to go back and have it first person. It feels like there's less of a connection with the characters. However when I write in first person it feels too repetitive to state I (even though you have to)
and not all the characters feel equally developed in their descriptions around them.

Lost writer for some years,


Answer: From what little you've said, it sounds as though your main character is the girl, for the first book at any rate. Since the reader does not know your story world, her path of discovery would parallel the reader's. It would particularly make sense if discovering the secret is also the story goal for this book, in which case she may be the protagonist.

In later books, it may be possible for you to make the best friend the protagonist - if he is such a major character - and still tell his story from the point of view of the girl, if you choose.

If you are telling the story from multiple points of view, keep in mind that can essentially mean having multiple stories within one novel. Or you can have several main characters, each with their own throughline, who essentially share an objective story throughline. Any of the major POV characters will need his/her own inner conflict and character arc. (If you've ever read the Bartimaeus trilogy, you'll recall that series has three POV characters, each with their own arc, whose paths cross, and who share the overall throughline.)

I can't help wondering who your impact character is. Perhaps the friend? Typically, male/female relationships make good main character/impact character relationships - as is the case in most romances, The X-files, etc. Sometimes, when you are writing from both points of view, each is the impact character to the other.

As for which person to write in, 3rd person is usually easiest when dealing with multiple POVs, because using names helps the reader know whose head he is in at any moment. However, if you want one of your POVs to stand out as the real main character, you could use first person for that character only.

Best of luck.

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