Strong and weak plot lines.
by Hazel L
(South Wales UK)
Question: Hi! I love your website, it has given me new hope. I have been struggling with my science fiction novel for about 3 years, not sure about either the identity of the main character or the story goal. I have now decided that since it is for teenage girls, the teenage daughter of the President has to be the main character, and I can develop her plot line (coming of age and leaving her father) in a satisfactory manner. However, her two impact characters (the confidante and the romantic interest)have exciting plot lines of their own, in fact so exciting that her story seems overshadowed. How can I keep the novel focused on my main character when dramatic and horrific events are happening outside the presidential palace? Thank you.
Thanks for your kind comments.
I think you are correct in thinking that the main character must be involved. For the impact characters to influence the main character, she has to perceive what they are doing.
Now, there are any number of ways this could happen. She can observe at a distance, by reading news reports, talking to them, or stumbling across information about what these people are doing. In that case, I'm going to assume you want to switch to the impact character's point of view to describe some of these exciting events.
On the other hand, you might want to find ways to put the main character in a position to observe events directly. Could they happen to occur when she is on an excursion? Could she sneak out of the White House regularly to meet her romantic interest or confidante and wind up witnessing these events? Could these impact characters drag her into their lives outside the White House?
A quality of good main characters is that they often have some special ability or trait that makes them them ideally suited to affect whether the story goal is achieved. So you might consider what is special about this girl that puts her in a position to do something no one else can.