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Main character not so main?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Waltershores, May 19, 2011.

  1. Waltershores

    Waltershores Dreamer

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    I wanted to poll the community and see what you all thought about a book in which the main character is not even part of the final battle. The supporting characters pick up the slack and win the day while the character that many have followed through the entire book is ousted from the climax. Good, bad, workable? What say you?
     
  2. Hans

    Hans Sage

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    Here "The Hidden Fortress" (隠し砦の三悪人) from Akira Kurosawa comes to mind. The story is told from the view of two minor side characters. It was a influence for "Star Wars" which originally was planned to be told from the view of the two droids.

    So yes, it's perfectly doable.
     
  3. ade625

    ade625 Scribe

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    Workable if the supporting characters are well rounded (and possibly likeable) which should hopefully be the case anyway. Although you may want to give the main character something to do, even if it's not contributing to the main climax. I wouldn't expect everyone to be happy with the idea, mind.
     
  4. Waltershores

    Waltershores Dreamer

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    Good call on giving him something to do. He will still be useful away from the main confrontation. Thanks for the replies!!
     
  5. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Provided there is a solid storyline reason for the main character to be absent, of course it is workable.
     
  6. Kelise

    Kelise Maester

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    Yup, it's workable. I can't remember where I've seen it done... whether it was Briedi Chronicles by Juliet Marillier? I think so.

    It's harder to do though. If there's a workaround as to how he COULD have been there and it's even slightly 'he did this instead because ___' then that's all your reviews will say. I think more than making it a solid reason, you'd have to make it she/he had utterly no chance/no other options.
     
  7. Kate

    Kate Troubadour

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    Agreed, It could be done. But I guess you'd have to be careful about it. Main characters are generally main for a reason
     
  8. Derin

    Derin Troubadour

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    If he's some mythic hero with unique magical powers, it's quite easy to keep him away from the main confrontation by giving him some task specific to his abilities to fulfil. This can either be a task he knew about but didn't complete in time (like going on some kind of spirit journey through meditation and getting stuck, forcing his friends to defend/hide his unconscious body and go on without him), or something that crops up at the last minute and makes everyone go, "oh shit, our plan for taking down the Big Bad needed him. Let's write a plan B, everyone!"
     
  9. Dwarven Gold

    Dwarven Gold Minstrel

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    Isn't that how The Hobbit ends?

    Bilbo Baggins gets knocked out, and the Dwarves crush the Orc army and save the day.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2011
  10. Vita Numinous

    Vita Numinous Scribe

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    If "The Great Gatsby" can do it, so can you. The main is just who you are seeing events through, and sometimes an outside source has a better perspective. Whichever character is able to do this well, and give their perspective in such a way as to show the story to its best advantage, is the main character. Not always just one, either. Multiple perspective is fun, but there tends to be more of a main one there, too.
     
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