Saturday, 29 August 2009

How to make one character MC?

As I have mentioned in few posts before, I am totally revamping my Fantasy WIP 2. But here is the dilemma (some good questions were raised after reading Lady Glamis' post on MCs over at the Literary Lab) - I don't know whether to have one main character or three. I did decide to make the hero my central character instead of the heroine. But the hero will be working with two other people (one of them heroine). All three of them have equal status, and there is a valid reason for three of them being together. But I feel as if having 3 MC is too much. Should I just have the one MC and make the other two simply two major view-point characters? I think one of the problems is that in the first version the heroine was the main character, and I am finding it really difficult to move her down. Her role is important, but the only way to make the hero a main character is to make her less important. (I don't mean important in terms of who she is, but rather what actions she will perform in the story.) Unless I make it multiple MC story. Any suggestions? I can't really think of many good stories (except for literary novels) where there is more than 1 MC. There are great major characters, but in fantasy especially, usually just one main character. All opinions appreciated.


  1. Hi, I'm now following your blog, mine is at

    It will get updated when I have something to say or share.

    Regarding your multiple MC scenario, I'm sorry but I can't think of a good example of 3 either. Alys Clare's Hawkenlye series has two lead characters whose viewpoint we share, but one is usually told in flashback.

    If you pull it off though, wow! you could be the first. Good luck.

    John O

  2. Probably the most current YA series I can think of is Cassandra Clare's the Mortal Instrument Series (City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass). It has several points of views. Sometimes she switches into a minor character's POV for a while.

  3. Charles de Lint uses several main characters in his urban fantasies. Not only does he use multiple view points, he also sometimes switches from first person to third person.

    Maeve Binchy's book Whitethorn Woods starts each section with a third person narative, and then continues with multiple first person viewpoints. There seems to be several main characters.

    If your story is calling for multiple main characters, then I say go for it.

  4. You have some good advice up above. I'll put my two cents in, for what it's worth. I don't think there should ever be more than one POV unless there's a darn good reason for it. If you're having this difficult of a time coming up with reasons for more than one POV, I'm thinking you probably only need that one POV.

    My current novel is told from 3 different POV's. It has been incredibly, INCREDIBLY! difficult to pull off. I've often though of getting rid of the third character's POV, but after doing some more in-depth mapping and such, I can see what his POV is adding to the narrative.

    I think the simplest way I can give you advice is to tell you that if you have multiple POVs - where the other POVs are secondary main characters to your Main Character, then those POVs should be there to add depth and texture to your Main Character - not just be a device to get across more information more easily, or to satisfy your craving to get into the head of another character. Their POV needs to move the story forward, and they need to be interesting enough not to turn off your reader every time the POV shifts to them. Their story should be just as interesting and ESSENTIAL to your Main Character as your Main Character's POV.

    Okay, so that came out sounding complicated, sorry. I'm so tired tonight, that I hope some of this makes sense...

    In the end, it's really hard for me to give you any sort of direction, though. I haven't read your story, nor do I know any particular details. So take this advice for what it's worth to you and your situation.

    Good luck and keep us updated!