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.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero