I decided to do a small side project, and while I'm having fun coming up with the outline, I've suddenly discovered that I don't know who the protagonist is. It started out as the serial killer, but I realized that, the way I'm going, it could be the main investigator the story is following, or the serial killer's friend who is also a suspect and who wants to find out who it is (or possibly knows who it is, and is simply not letting anything on). Basically, the story is about people who can see the future, and one of them decides to start killing off the people who will turn bad. My question: Who would you pick to be the protagonist? Because they're all fun characters, but I don't know which one would be considered the "Main Character" at this point.

Personally, I'd have them all be the main character. There's no need to pick. It'd just be an ensemble cast.

Oooooo fun idea. It just seems like that'd be harder than picking one. Although, they all do seem fun... And they all have huge character arcs... Maybe I will do that. Stay tuned for more info on the story. I plan to start it in January, as a serial more in the format of a TV show than a novel.

I absolutely love working with ensemble casts; it's especially helpful if, like me, you write the story around the characters and not vice-versa. Even in stories with a single protagonist, I tend to write out a paragraph or so that is never included from the viewpoints of each other character. It helps to make their interactions with the protagonist a lot more believable and realistic, at least that's what I've found.

Before I wrote Worm, I spent about ten years writing stories in my setting. I couldn't finish stories, but I kept exploring the world, each story telling a story from a different viewpoint and a different perspective.

In the end, I had 100+ characters who had either been protagonists or antagonists. When I started Worm, I made it 'parahumans.wordpress' instead of 'worm.wordpress' because I planned to have a series of stories running in parallel.

In execution, getting the backlog online, I found I didn't want to do that. I think it's better to write one character's story well than to write two or three badly.

Perhaps write more drafts? Write snippets from further down the timeline, write from the villain's perspective, and get a broader sense of where you're going? You've been starting & stopping a fair number of stories lately, and maybe you'd benefit from slowing down & figuring out a clear direction for the stories you are continuing?

Word to the wise - any writing advice from Wildbow is probably the right way to go.

Addendum - I took a decade to write NMAI before anyone ever saw it. And it's been rated 5 star. I've long been of the opinion that first stories shouldn't be posted until they're finished, because until you've proven to yourself that you can finish a plot you're not an author, just someone writing for fun. I held myself to that standard, so I'm not just being a jerk. I wrote Diggory practically non-stop for four years because NMAI proved to me that I could. Deaths in my family and the birth of the twins took some of the wind out of my sails, but that was after ten books in the serial.

To get back in the saddle I've given myself the goal of finishing a complete story, whether it is a short one or a novella or a book. I highly recommend knowing yourself as a writer before taking up an audience's time.

Because it is a serial, if you split the narrative there will be considerable realtime pause between each character's point of view. For example, if you post weekly and have 3 povs, you'll be looking at a month between povs. A readers can forget what happened in the past to that character.

Just something to think about.

Alex, it does sound like you pick up a new project and drop annother every few weeks... I really suggest you stick to one, as it's probably the hardest thing. Starting arcs, in my experience, is much easier than resolving them - certianly to do it well. By starting a new project so often, and leaving others unfinished, you are not getting any experience tying things up.

Also, if you are building any audience or getting known in any manner - well they are going to notice that you never finish things and so they will skip over anything they see thinking: "I don't want to invest my time in this, as he'll probably drop it in a few weeks/months and leave me hanging."

Hi, Alex:

I like the idea that George put forth about the ensemble cast, and I think your writing style would work well with it. I look forward to seeing you try it out.

I would also like to encourage you to continue writing in whatever way you think is going to work best for you, and to continue sharing what you write. I have very much enjoyed watching you grow as a writer, and in my experience, I've found that aside from writing as much as possible, nothing has helped my writing grow more than sharing it with others and getting feedback. I'd also like to add that what works well for one writer isn't always going to work for another, so no matter what other suggest, you're always going to have to find the way that works for you.


Super: Sci-fi/Suspense/Adventure, with Superheroes

One of my favorite movies is Psycho precisely because the MC switches so suddenly and it's so gripping and awesome! The character you follow in the beginning doesn't necessarily have to be the one you end with, as long as it's interesting.