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Which of these do you think would be the best MC for my fantasy web novel?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by SinghSong, Jan 3, 2021.

Which of these do you think I should choose to be the MC for my story?

  1. A

    1 vote(s)
  2. B

    1 vote(s)
  3. C

    3 vote(s)
  4. D

    0 vote(s)
  5. E

    0 vote(s)
  6. F

    1 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. SinghSong

    SinghSong Minstrel

    So, I've more or less finalized the world-building aspects of the fantasy web novel/manga (and/or potentially an RPG game) concept I've been working on, in the setting I briefly touched upon in this world-building thread:

    World Building Challenge: Create Original Chimera Species

    Now though, I'm looking to start building the actual plot, with the story beginning when the MC/central protagonist's enrollment at an institution which teaches the Alchimeric Arts, aka as 'Blending', to the 0.4-1% of the general population who possess have the magical ability to both acquire infusions of the Qi/essence of other animals through physical contact (enabling them to form magical bonds with familiars, magically splice themselves with other animals they've acquired the Qi of to become were-creatures at will, and perhaps most importantly in the context of world-building, to blend the Qi/essence of any two living things, dependent upon how distantly related they are from one another, together to create magical chimeras), to those looking to pass the Imperial Examination and gain certification from the Alchimerists' Guild.

    But I've realized that there are any number of ways I could write this story, and any number of directions I could take it in. After working hard to make my fantasy world setting as rich and diverse as possible, having also conceived it as the setting for a relatively open-world fantasy role-playing video game franchise I'm story-boarding and doing the artwork for (in collaboration with a few friends who're handling the more technical and marketing aspects, to be the founding cornerstone of our start-up indie game development studio, partially drawing inspiration from Baldur's Gate, Spore and a few other games), the MC/central protagonist's remained a largely faceless blank slate up until this point- in the game version, players would be able to create their own character and choose one of several potential character paths.

    As such, when it comes to the MC for my serialized web novel/manga version, which I'm hoping to start publishing and releasing online as part of the pre-launch marketing campaign, I've brainstormed a whole bunch of possible options, and drawn up a not-so-short shortlist (which I've whittled down to 6 main options here)- but I can only pick one, at least initially (though I'd be more than happy to work on a spin-off or two if it's successful enough, and I'd welcome any partners/collaborators willing to work on them with me as fellow authors and/or artists as well). So then, which of these do you think I should choose to be the MC of my story; which would make for the most interesting, entertaining and/or original plot, in your opinion?

    A- ('Xianxia Prime' MC) The third son of an impoverished minor house of the Nobility, passed over in favor of his elder siblings and weaker members of wealthier, more prestigious Noble families, this MC still has an inextinguishable burning ambition to leave behind his humble status and upbringing, and cast off his (imagined) shame by bringing un-rivalled glory to his Clan's name. His goal is to fight his way to the very pinnacle- acquiring the strongest were-forms and gathering together a closely-knit 'band of brothers' (along with a bunch of love interests) under his banner along the way, in order to gain universal acknowledgement and recognition as the strongest Grand Master of the Alchimeric Arts in all the world...!

    B- ('Princess of Thrones' MC) Officially, this MC is the only daughter of a single mother; who in spite of belonging to a noble clan, is still looked upon by many, having been a former Imperial Concubine. However, unbeknownst to anyone besides herself and her adopted mother, the MC's actually the sole surviving daughter of the former Empress Dowager- who was ousted from power and executed, along with the MC's newborn little sister, in a coup by the MC's uncle (a cousin of her late father, who died before she herself was born), leader of the Imperial Court and their most trusted advisor. Since her uncle appointed himself Emperor, he's ruled over the kingdom with an iron fist- further steeling the MC's resolve to build up her strength, knowledge and connections as much as she can at the institute, working tirelessly towards the end goal of overthrowing her uncle's tyrannic rule, enacting vengeance for his betrayal and cold-blooded murders of her mother and little sister, and restoring both peace and order to the kingdom which is rightfully hers...

    C- ('Fantasy Food Warlord!' MC) The only son of a mere chef and a house maid, both common servants and members of the peasantry, this MC's a nameless nobody, with no real status to speak of- not that it bothers him in the slightest. He doesn't care about the flashier, more acclaimed and action-orientated aspects of 'blending', and possesses zero interest and aptitude at blending with animals (with his lack of interest and aptitude in combat abilities further diminishing his reputation in the eyes of the most of the student body, and leading to him being popularly perceived as eccentric, weak and effeminate). Instead, he's enrolled at the institute, and aims to gain his Mastery, to a very different end- for the noble purpose of using blending to create the perfect ingredients, and combine it with his unrivalled culinary skills and talents to achieve taste nirvana! How many people will be swayed by his delectable dishes along the way?

    D- ('Pearl of the Orient Seas' MC) A former tavern owner's daughter, who grew up in a port town in a distant under-developed land where the Alchimeric Arts are virtually unknown and untaught, and was enraptured by the sailors' and merchants' tales; as soon as she was old enough, this MC traveled on a long and arduous journey across the oceans, halfway around the world, to reach these shores and enrol at the Institute. Here, she hoped to be welcomed with open arms and granted a free scholarship upon displaying her prodigious innate talent, learn all there was to know about 'blending' from the best, and take her newfound knowledge back home to make her fortune by improving the quality of life for the people of her own poverty-ridden homeland. However, she soon finds out that prejudices and intrigues at the Institute run deep, and that even with her exceptional talent, trying to adapt to this land's strange culture and customs, and gain her Mastery, is going to pose a far greater challenge than she thought...

    E- ('The Reluctant Normie' MC) Hailing from a family of middling merchants, this relatively boring, average, unexceptional and socially reclusive MC knows his place in the world, and has little to no interest in upsetting the natural order- all he wants is to breeze through with as little effort and attention directed his way as possible, scrape through the Imperial Examination, and set up shop in a quiet, distant corner of the countryside, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and all of the hassles involved in dealing with the nobility. But as events start to unfurl around him, and with his mask of mundane anonymity beginning to slip and his own previously hidden gifts starting to make him stand out from the rest, will he have any choice but to step up and adopt a more active leading role?

    F- ('From the Ghetto' MC) Whilst marked down on paper, and enrolled at the institute, as the second son of a respectable apothecary, this MC's forged papers conceal his true heritage- as a former street urchin, and teenage member of the Golden Triads, one of the most ruthless up-and-coming criminal gangs on the continent. And he's been enrolled at the institute, with his tuition bankrolled by the local chapter's boss (a former drop-out from the Institute who turned to crime instead), as their only trusted member who possessed enough talent to have a hope of pulling it off, to gain his Mastery in the Alchimeric Arts and become the best Blender he can be, as a means to an end- to consolidate the Golden Triads' status as the producer and supplier of the most addictive, profitable illicit drugs around. As he grows more accustomed to life on campus though, and starts to form bonds and relationships at the Institute, so far removed from the harsh reality of growing up in a gang on the slums' streets, will his allegiance to the Golden Triads hold? And even if it doesn't, will he be strong enough to escape their grasp?
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Archmage

    I think A, B, D and F all have potential.

    A and B can roughly be the same story, except with the gender of the protagonist changed. Both are person is out to "conquer" the empire. One literally, the other in his approach to life. D and F have a lot of overlap as well (both being a take on "outsider trying to fit in"), though they are more different from each other.

    For C there just doesn't seem to be any conflict there. Person wants to learn how to cook, learns how to cook. Doesn't sound all that interesting.

    As for E, normal is boring. You will have lost your readers by the time events start to unfurl because before then nothing has happened yet. Starting a story with a normal person doing normal stuff and keeping out of the way is the same as starting a story with someone waking up.

    In the end, pick the one you are most excited about. Writing a novel is a lot of work. You'll likely be spending a few months with your character, so it helps if you're excited about the story and the characters.
    S.T. Ockenner and SinghSong like this.
  3. TJPoldervaart

    TJPoldervaart Minstrel

    I personally like F the most because of two reasons. Firstly, his situation allows for a lot of tension in the story, where he attempts the impossible balance of his ghetto side and life at the institute. Secondly, because of that situation, I think there is a lot of room for character growth, because his entire outlook on the world could be challenged by the bonds he makes at the institute.

    I agree with Prince of Spires that A, B and D also have potential. E is the character I'm least likely to get excited about, because I'm not a fan of bland characters. And although I love the idea of C, I think he would serve better as a side-character than a main character.
    SinghSong likes this.
  4. SinghSong

    SinghSong Minstrel

    Thanks for the feedback! Regarding C, there wouldn't really be any conflict there, but that was kind of an integral part of the character concept- for each MC, the main thing I was thinking about was what sorts of visual light novel/manga they'd wind up being the MCs of, since each one would be written (/drawn) with very different tones and with different genres. C would be the slice-of-life/comedic option, and part of the point was the realization that I didn't necessarily need to have high stakes, existential conflict or the hero's journey route to make it viable (with the concept title, in brackets, highlighting the character's main inspiration coming from the MC of this hugely successfully anime).

    A would be the standard fantasy Manhua/Chinese comic trope MC, B would be more of a traditional Western high fantasy/historical period-drama MC, D would be the most focused on the adventure, experiences and interpersonal drama aspects, E's the type of protagonist you typically see in the most successful fantasy/isekai Manga/Manhwa from Japan and Korea (who'd work as an MC by adding B,D &/or F as the main background characters who'd drive the plot forward), and F would be the darker and grittier fantasy crime/thriller option. So the question's as much about which sort of story you'd be more interested in reading (in a visual format, like a comic, not as a work of prose) as it is about which MC you'd consider to be the most interesting character.

    (P.S- yes, there was a 'G' MC concept as well, for the harem/ecchi/hentai genres- a depraved, villainous 'furry' MC, whose ambition would be to gather as many female animals as possible as his bonded familiars, and then violate the dark taboo of blending their Qi with his own human Qi, to perverting them to create the largest beast-girl slave harem he could- but I decided not to bother including it as an option, since I felt it'd be too distasteful to contemplate writing/drawing it, even if it could probably draw in a larger readership. My apologies to anyone who now feels the urgent need for brain bleach...)
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021

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