Serial with multiple protagonists.


I have a question regarding the format for my chapters. Nothing big, really.

See, my serial is told from the perspective of two different protagonists, and the chapters alternate between the two. E.g. chapters 1, 3 and 5 are told from the POV of character A; chapters 2, 4 and 6 are told from the perspective of character B.

The thing is, I don't know if I should indicate which one is being the POV narrator for that particular chapter, like G.R.R. Martin does in a ASoIaF, or should I should leave it at "Chapter 1", "Chapter 2", etc.

Which one do you think is best?


Hope I made sense.

Personally, I'm inclined to believe you can't be faulted for being too clear about that--especially on the internet. People will be coming to each new section with a gap of a few days to a week so they might already be unclear about who the last chapter was about.

What Jim said. You can't be too clear, and I think in this case, clarity wins out over anything else.

If there was a way to customize color schemes by page, that'd be even better.

Chapter 1 - Crestfallen (Jim)

Chapter 2 - Standards (Gavin)

Chapter 3 - Towering (SGL)


Yes, what they said, though really it's an extension to my general idea about editing: read like an idiot. If I read through something and it throws me off until I have to take a moment and activate some deeper thinking brain cells to figure out what's meant, then it's a problem. Even if you don't think most people are stupid, it's helpful to do this because anything that forces someone to do too much thinking like that is something that breaks the flow of the story. It's like The Matrix: you don't want someone to stop and wonder why they have deja vu. You want them to keep going right along with the narrative without a break.

The varying color schemes sounds like a great idea, if it's doable. Once your readers get used to them, they would probably even have more of a recognition value than just titles.

Or maybe something like a recurring character banner at the top?

When I had multiple narrators in NMAI what I did to get different "voices" was write in different fonts - and then made them standard when I finished and edited. But if you can change the font to suit characters that might work too.

Thank you all for the replies and the gear suggestions.

I don't like the idea of having different background colours for the pages (I really like the black background), but the idea of having different banners is a pretty good one. I think I will commission an artist to do the different banners for me... once I stop being poor, that is. >.>

Anyway, thanks again. :)

The reason I suggested different color schemes is that it'd communicate who the reader is reading in a subtle way that didn't require scrolling up to double check (When reading No Man An Island, I often had to). You could, depending on chapter length, do the same with a vertical banner that followed the length of the text, but that's tricky.

See, that is good information to have, because now I can go back and label chapters better. I didn't realize that was an issue.

*adds to to-do list.

You don't need to commission an artist, just search deviantart for something that might fit the personality of that character, and ask the artist if they'll let you use it. Most are probably okay with it as long as you make mention of their name. Tempest, for instance, uses a piece by Jason Chan for Mage Life. Jason was cool with it.

I Noticed my name. Yes Jason is cool with it. Most copyright stuff requires written consent, in this day and age email is generally accepted. So I've kept the email just to cover my bases.

Just make sure you do contact and ask for permission. It saves a lot of headaches. Free wallpaper sites often have good stuff too, but track down the artist so you can attributed it to them. If anything artistic endeavours are about contacts and manners, be polite, you don't have to be overly formal or anything but good manners cost nothing. Many are cool about a lot of things, things that copyright is not, but check. You do it in the right way and you have a friend. You can never have too many friends.

As an artist myself, I would be really irritated if someone asked to use art I had already done for their own project...I guess some people are okay with it, but to me it's kind of saying 'I like your stuff but I don't want to pay you for it so just give me something you already have.' If you can afford it, commission it.

He said he would commission an artist if he could afford it right now.

But all this is kinda tangential to the original question.

I personally dislike handholding. But for viewpoint go with simple and clear. You can be as confusing as you want with almost any other aspect of the story but if the anchors are loose then readers may not stick around through that confusion.

I used a grand total of 14 POV characters in my web serial that recently wrapped up, and if I could start over I would make it explicitly clear who's POV it was, whether with a chapter header, different colours, different fonts, however you can. I would make that change even though there are a few chapters where the revelation of whose POV they're reading is a big "shocker" to the reader.

The biggest reason I'd advise such is that no reader will know your characters as well as you do. It sounds obvious, but it means that your readers probably aren't going to be able to keep track of subtle things like tonal shift or different voices. They most likely have other stories they're reading, and if they're into a lot of web serials they might be trying to keep track of dozens, if not hundreds (cough cough Worm cough) of different characters across the different stories they're reading. In that context, expecting them to open your latest chapter and realize that this is a "Billy" chapter because Billy doesn't use contractions might be a little much.

Is it first-person POV, or third-person POV?

Across the entirety of Cookie, I use at least six major third-person POVs and numerous smaller ones. I don't hand-hold at the top of the chapter, I trust the text to speak for itself.

I write in third-person limited point of view. It's the one I'm more comfortable with and, as far as I could see in my own writing, the least confusing.

The reason why I originally went against indicating who was the narrator of every chapter was for a little bit of shock value (when the name of the person is obscured for a couple of paragraphs), and because I thought it could look a little bit, uhmm, patronizing. I believed that without any kind head-hopping in a given chapter, and without the "All-Concealing I", the text itself would be clear enough about whose head we are in at the moment.

Still, I realise that writing a web novel is different to writing a traditional novel. So I'll keep the names until I can get those banners.

Of course, this all will mean nothing if I don't stop rewriting my story every four hours. *hangs head in shame*

Anyway, thanks again everyone.

I write various third-person point of views with fanfictions, but I am finding it hard for my web serial. So, I am trying out first person view(and changing how I do the story beginning) for the first time outside one other fanfiction I did. However, glad I found this thread as the POV of the story I am working on changes each chapter between three characters. I already have a "theme" color for two of them as most of my illustrations will be based around them and their illustration will be formed from just that color. I will use that theme colors for my character's chapters.