For my non-writer friends who follow the blog or maybe even some newer writers:
POV = point of view MC = main character
Now that we have that out of the way …. I read a post on Jami Gold’s blog earlier this week titled “Should Our Protagonist Be in the First Scene?” It was a great discussion of cases when you might make an exception and begin your story with a secondary character. But it made me think of a tangential topic related to last week’s post on revising one character at a time:
When your story has two POVs, who is the MC (or protagonist)? And as a result, whose POV should take priority for the first scene?
I suppose the answer to both of these questions is: it depends.
But I’ll tackle the MC question first. If the story has two alternating, equal POVs, then they should be equal protagonists. I found this concept very well illustrated in THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME by Jennifer E. Smith, which was a perfect book for me to read as I was about to tackle revisions. Each character has his/her own clearly defined issues and desires at the beginning of the book. Even while their journeys are connected, they are distinct. This is definitely the case in my WIP and what I had to work on as I was revising the male POV. However, there might be other books where the POVs aren’t equal. If the book is weighted toward one character more than the other, then obviously that POV is the MC.
If there is a clear MC, then really you’re back to answering the question in Jami’s post, and she’s already handled it excellently. What I was trying to wrap my head around was whether it was ok to start my WIP with the boy POV, and I think that’s because I was still stuck in that mindset that the girl was really the MC. But if I follow my own argument above–that the two characters have equal POVs and so are equal protagonists–then I can start with either character and I’m introducing the reader to one of the MCs.
So if that’s the case, then I’m back to the age-old question of where is the best place to start the story. Who does the reader need to hear from first? What information needs to be conveyed in that first scene to draw the reader in? Which character will have the most impact? I’m pretty sure I know the answer to this question. We’ll see if my critique partners agree once I finish these revisions :).
Have you ever struggled with multiple POVs and figuring out who’s the main protagonist? Or if they’re equal?