I have until Friday to catch up on everything I put on hold when I got serious about resurrecting my novel in late March and invited you to join in and Resurrect that Novel.
A few weeks ago, Jade emailed me a great question lots of writers grapple with — How to Plot 2 Protagonists in a Novel. I thought I’d share her question and my answer here with you.
“I am deep in your Writing Deep Scenes. I just have one question: if my novel has POVs from both the heroine and hero equally, does this mean I have two themes, two goals, two energetic markers…etc?”
I’ve been deep in Writing Deep Scenes myself lately and found the Scene Types identification and corresponding bullet-points led to some astonishing results in refining my novel (Help! Parallel Lives or The Boy with the Magic Touch? I need your help deciding which title to use for my novel!). The novel I’m currently working on also has 2 POVs equally between male and female.
What I have found when analyzing novels and movies and memoirs is:
Yes, 2 goals (often in direct opposition to each other which sets up an antagonist relationship that then has to be overcome).
Yes, 2 markers (which often hit very near to each other or used to bring a double-whammy type effect).
No, 1 thematic significance (You’ll write about many themes in a story that all come together to reinforce an overall thematic significance statement about the story as a whole and with full integration of both POVs).
My comments are based on my own research and writing and I’m sure you can find lots of exceptions (there are no fixed rules to writing other than to tell a great story).
However, what I’ve found very powerful is with one common thematic significance for the overall story and two different ways to get there and / or showing the thematic significance from two different angles / povs / experiences.
For examples from award-winning novels, I use the Pulitzer Prize winning All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr in Writing Blockbuster Plots to discuss two protagonists in a non-linear presentation. In The Plot Whisperer Workbook, I demonstrate how to plot 2 protagonists in a novel using two of the three protagonists in The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
Hope that helped answer your question about How to Plot 2 Protagonists in a Novel, Jade. Have fun writing!
I envy you as I wait impatiently for Friday. Friday is the deadline I’ve given myself to create distance from my story, having just been so intimately involved with every word. Friday is when I reward myself with a read through of all the work I’ve done over the past several months.
The discipline of not going back over what I’d already worked on really helped me keep moving forward and a tip I recommend using. On those occasions when I did go back to integrate missing elements as I was working forward, I often found myself getting caught up in refining the same scene over and over again. The discipline of keeping blinders on and focusing on each individual scene came in handy.
The practice of sinking so deeply into the scenes became an almost Zen-like discipline, giving honor and time and a precision and refinement to each scene, paragraph, word. I learned a lot about my own writing and I am eager to share the techniques I found helpful.
The next few blog posts cover steps to refining your story.
Or, for links to the steps, sign-up for the free monthly Plot Tips ezine I plan to send out on Thursday (due to writing obsession, I missed sending out the ezine in April).