As a writer, the last thing you want when creating multiple main characters is creating the same “super” guy, copy and pasted ten times over.
But that’s why you’re a great writer. You already know that making a story more engaging means creating more unique, relatable, and special main characters. Even if that means doing so for a story with multiple main characters.
But what if that balance is difficult to strike? What if you find you are struggling to create strong identities for multiple main characters?
How can you make sure your own mmc’s (multiple main characters) are unique, relatable, and unforgettable? How do you make certain your mmcs aren’t drowning out your plot?
Well the main word to keep in mind here is unique! Unique! Unique! And I’m going to repeat this word a lot more than three times, so just bear with me!
A valuable entourage of mmc’s in a novel can be related to a family or a group of your closest friends. Each member of your family/ friendship circle brings something to the table. (I’m just gunna run with the family concept here) In a family, each member may be totally different from the next both in appearance, personality, likes, dislikes, ticks, and attitudes. And when you think about each family member you can no doubt name exactly what those are and how they are unique to that relative.
Why is that? It’s because those personality traits are prominent, identifying who they are.
Your mmcs should be just as diverse.This sort of diversity amongst your mmcs makes each character stand out from the next. It is so important that each mc has their own unique personality traits, ticks, quirks, and flaws. Creating contrasting viewpoints and personalties amongst mcs creates a very engaging story filled with depth and intrigue.
Make sure their special traits are solidly built and true to their pattern throughout your story. It may even help to take out a sheet of paper and draw it out, mapping out each character and organizing who they are right before your eyes.
How can you make sure each mc’s personality is clearly identifiable?
Well here’s a little test: Propose a conflict in your head. Think about one mc in regards to this conflict and ask yourself: “If this conflict were to face them, this mc would definitely react in what way?” And, if you got their reaction/response down in a few minutes, then you are well on your way to defining that mc’s personality. If you’re struggling on formulating an answer, well that’s okay too. But, you might want to check out a few more tips on how you can get to know the character you feel lost with.
But check out that valuable info after this article! 😉
Finally, when an mc faces a problem that challenges them more personally, consider when and if you want them to grow from the experience, or fall apart because of it. Such problems further solidify their unique persona as you build upon their purpose to the story. Since I’ve mentioned purpose, I’ll hop right to the next point.
Make sure each mc has a solid purpose to both the overall plot and their co-mcs. Strong purpose makes each mc, no matter how diverse, difficult to forget.
What is a strong purpose unique to each mc? Well, you know your story. You know your plot. You know your mcs. You know the message you want to send out to your readers.
When you think about these things, which mcs stand out as having an important role in each of these matters? Can you picture the names and faces vital to the mission in your story? Are there some mcs that perhaps fall behind? Well then maybe it’s time to get a little more honest about these stragglers.
So, think about all your mcs and really honestly ask yourself: Does each character have an absolutely necessary purpose to:
Their fellow characters?
Is each mc doing their part to move the story along?
Poignant acts of betrayal are included as plot supporters. However, if you can think of one or two faces that just aren’t doing their part, then it may be time to make them walk the plank. It can be very hard, don’t get me wrong. I have bargained and bartered for the life of many a character in my stories. But, if they don’t have even one iota of truly valuable purpose to all four points, then they really are just reading baggage. And no reader wants that guy around!
Imagination-eye-candy, clumsy oafs, or the third wheel of a side-story love triangle does not count as a necessary character to a story. If one of your characters is apart of a love triangle, there really should be at least one more important reason why they exist in your story other than just being the romantic wrench thrown into the mix. In fact that’s why the love triangle exists- because one character can’t make a decision based on two people who have a lot going for them, plus personal appeal!
Not sure if your love triangle is in it’s proper place? Then check out Love Triangles: Why You’re Doing it Wrong after this article.
Relatable to the reader:
If you’re looking to make each mc more relatable to the reader, then rest assured on one fact: no matter what genre you write in, your readers are still a diverse mix of people! Each reader will connect to a different mc and the personality you have created to go along with that particular mc.
The idea is, create each character to be strong to who or what they represent and they will be unforgettable to the reader.
Your readers can sense when a character is more of a caricature of the personality you built, than an organic representation of it. So do your research and make sure who you create is true to the reader wanting to connect to that particular character. Each mc has their own identity, just like your reader has his own identity.
So make it real, make it human, and most importantly make it unique!
Can a story have too many main characters?
As long as each mc stands up to the three subjects mentioned, then your cast should be all right.
One thing I must stress to fellow writers is this: don’t dizzy your reader.
If the reader has to take out a notebook just to keep track of all the mcs popping up, never mind the side characters, then you might just want to reconsider your cast size.
No reader wants to feel like they are struggling to keep up!
Think of all the books, movies, and shows out there rocking a multiple main character cast. They do it well and you can too, as long as you strike the right balance!
Well that’s all I have to say on the subject of multiple main characters and making them relatable and unique. It can be a difficult balance to strike and I give serious props and deep respect to the authors ambitious enough to take on the art of crafting multiple main characters. Do you have comments or questions? Please feel free to comment below, I’d love to hear what you have to say!
Don’t beat yourself up if you find you need to make revisions or are having difficulty balancing the process. It is a delicate process that takes time and you should be proud of what you have already accomplished!
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