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Post Reply Does the main character HAVE to be the same character as the protagonist?
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Posted 5/10/15


Durarara and Baccano are made by the same person right?
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I find writing in first person somewhat easier than third person. It's still a bit hard trying to show my writing rather than telling it though.
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The most famous case of first person narrative from the main character who is not protagonist would probably be the sherlock holmes novels (and short stories).
They are well worth a read.
In the case of writing it is probably useful to use some form of framing device- a series of diaries, an autobiographical account, a series of letters etc.
it was very common in late 19th century fiction. Robert louis stevenson is another great example.
apologies for my poor structure in this post- I am tired and too lazy to edit
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The technical, literary and theatrical definition of protagonist is the one who desires and works toward change in the plot. That's it. There can be multiple protagonists, and the protagonist does not have to be the main character. Nor does the protagonist have to be sympathetic; the protagonist can be the villain. This is admittedly rare, however. Furthermore, the role of protagonist can change within a story.

The main character, on the other hand, is the one from whose perspective we primarily see the story. These are often one and the same, but not always. As others have mentioned, Ishmael is the main character in "Moby Dick", but Captain Ahab is the protagonist. Similarly, in "The Shawshank Redemption", Red is the main character and Andy is the protagonist. In "The Great Gatsby", Gatsby is the protagonist and Nick is the main character.

Also, thinking of the two as different can be incredibly liberating from a writer's perspective; it gives you new ways to think of your characters and stories and might help you think of fun, interesting things to do with them.
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Posted 5/10/15

Giefuacnyd wrote:

The most famous case of first person narrative from the main character who is not protagonist would probably be the sherlock holmes novels (and short stories).
They are well worth a read.
In the case of writing it is probably useful to use some form of framing device- a series of diaries, an autobiographical account, a series of letters etc.
it was very common in late 19th century fiction. Robert louis stevenson is another great example.
apologies for my poor structure in this post- I am tired and too lazy to edit


It's fine.
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I tend to think of the terms main character and protagonist to be different. The protagonist is a singular character that goes through the most dramatic change and the one the audience is supposed to make the biggest connection with. Main character is basically anyone that is a major player like the protagonist, deuterogonist, tritagonist, antagonist, etc.

Going with those definitions, Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana are all main characters, but only one of them is the protagonist. Between Aladdin and Alibaba, I'm more leaning towards Aladdin to be the protag.

This is is just how I generally think, this has been wrong before. Mushishi's only main character is Ginko, but he's almost never the protagonist.

1) I find it easier to write in first perspective since, to me, it feels like I am conversing with my readers (or shoving my views down their throat lel).

2) You could have the narrator go through another character's things and they could find a diary or some secondary source of their thoughts. Those thoughts aren't known to the reader the moment an event happens, but at least we still get to see those thoughts. We just have to trust that our narrator tells us exactly what the diary read.
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Posted 5/10/15 , edited 5/10/15

Shwuishu wrote:

I tend to think of the terms main character and protagonist to be different. The protagonist is a singular character that goes through the most dramatic change and the one the audience is supposed to make the biggest connection with. Main character is basically anyone that is a major player like the protagonist, deuterogonist, tritagonist, antagonist, etc.

Going with those definitions, Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana are all main characters, but only one of them is the protagonist. Between Aladdin and Alibaba, I'm more leaning towards Aladdin to be the protag.

This is is just how I generally think, this has been wrong before. Mushishi's only main character is Ginko, but he's almost never the protagonist.

1) I find it easier to write in first perspective since, to me, it feels like I am conversing with my readers (or shoving my views down their throat lel).

2) You could have the narrator go through another character's things and they could find a diary or some secondary source of their thoughts. Those thoughts aren't known to the reader the moment an event happens, but at least we still get to see those thoughts. We just have to trust that our narrator tells us exactly what the diary read.



I love how you use MAGI as an example.
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Posted 5/10/15

Giefuacnyd wrote:

The most famous case of first person narrative from the main character who is not protagonist would probably be the sherlock holmes novels (and short stories).
They are well worth a read.
In the case of writing it is probably useful to use some form of framing device- a series of diaries, an autobiographical account, a series of letters etc.
it was very common in late 19th century fiction. Robert louis stevenson is another great example.
apologies for my poor structure in this post- I am tired and too lazy to edit


You reminded me, Captain Harlock also does something similar. I forgot the name of the character, but while Harlock is the title character and the moving force behind the story, the story actually takes the point of view of this teenager who infiltrated Harlock's ship.


The male character standing next to Harlock who looks like he could be his younger brother.
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qualeshia3 wrote:


Shwuishu wrote:

I tend to think of the terms main character and protagonist to be different. The protagonist is a singular character that goes through the most dramatic change and the one the audience is supposed to make the biggest connection with. Main character is basically anyone that is a major player like the protagonist, deuterogonist, tritagonist, antagonist, etc.

Going with those definitions, Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana are all main characters, but only one of them is the protagonist. Between Aladdin and Alibaba, I'm more leaning towards Aladdin to be the protag.

This is is just how I generally think, this has been wrong before. Mushishi's only main character is Ginko, but he's almost never the protagonist.

1) I find it easier to write in first perspective since, to me, it feels like I am conversing with my readers (or shoving my views down their throat lel).

2) You could have the narrator go through another character's things and they could find a diary or some secondary source of their thoughts. Those thoughts aren't known to the reader the moment an event happens, but at least we still get to see those thoughts. We just have to trust that our narrator tells us exactly what the diary read.



I love how you use MAGI as an example.


You had a Judal picture, so I just thought of that. Also, I read somewhere that Aladdin and Alibaba are both protagonists and deuterogonists to each other(I guess it depends on the arc), so I thought it was a good example.
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Thank you.
xxJing 
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Posted 5/10/15 , edited 5/10/15
I just remembered an extremely interesting case.

A harem anime with 4 main characters. (Not the girls)



I have to put this in spoiler tags because this is a major spoiler. Read at your own discretion, it explains how it is a harem anime with 4 main characters.


It's an interesting harem that I recommend watching. When I say interesting, I mean it has a novel story. While I like Highschool DxD or Infinite Stratos for example, I would classify those as generic harems. I'd say this goes more in the spirit of Grisaia.
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So the girls in that picture aren't the main characters?
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Short answer: yes by definition: "the leading character or one of the major characters in a drama, movie, novel, or other fictional text." The protagonist (from Ancient Greek πρωταγωνιστής (protagonistes), meaning "player of the first part, chief actor") or main character. Now of course the protagonist doesn't have to be good, evil or anything in between if you want.

Writing in first person is more difficult, it can work, but you are usually forced to rely on internal monologues. See the anime My Teenage ROMCOM as a good example. Writing in first person is much more difficult and doesn't work in all cases. Do you want to know what the main character is thinking or do you want his or her super intelligence to surprise a reader. It really depends on the theme and what you want your audience to experience.

I'd rather write in third person since I think it is easier and I'm lazy

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AzazelOfNexium wrote:

No,

I tend to write from a first person perspective in which the main character is a narrator who is recounting the tale of a legendary warrior (the protagonist)

The protagonist is normally just the character that is the trigger for most of the positive events similar to the antagonist being the trigger for the negative events in a story.

The main character can be anyone, it can be someone on the sidelines of the story or it can be the antagonist of the story OR it can be the protaganist.

I'm not too good with all the literary terminology for this stuff so excuse me for my horrible explanations.


1) I like third person and first person equally.. it all depends on how well its written. Both have pro's and con's and both can be just as enjoyable as each-other.

2) I guess from a narrators standpoint and making light commentary on the facial expressions and or actions of the characters surrounding the main character/ protagonist.

or you could just have the main character ask them their point of view.



The protagonist has to be the main character. For example, in Death Note Light is our protagonist, L is the antagonist since Light is the main character and L is the one that opposes him.
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kevz_210 wrote:

Short answer: yes by definition: "the leading character or one of the major characters in a drama, movie, novel, or other fictional text." The protagonist (from Ancient Greek πρωταγωνιστής (protagonistes), meaning "player of the first part, chief actor") or main character. Now of course the protagonist doesn't have to be good, evil or anything in between if you want.

Writing in first person is more difficult, it can work, but you are usually forced to rely on internal monologues. See the anime My Teenage ROMCOM as a good example. Writing in first person is much more difficult and doesn't work in all cases. Do you want to know what the main character is thinking or do you want his or her super intelligence to surprise a reader. It really depends on the theme and what you want your audience to experience.

I'd rather write in third person since I think it is easier and I'm lazy



Wasn't expecting another 'yes' here.
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