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Valona
01-16-2008, 12:59 AM
In my current WIP, there is no way I can introduce my second protagonist-- the main character's love interest -- before the third chapter.

I've heard that writers have to introduce all the main characters in the first chapter, if not the first scene. Is this going to be a big concern with agents and publishers?

RedScylla
01-16-2008, 01:04 AM
Have you considered alternating chapters instead of following in a very linear fashion? That is, I assume chapter three is where MC1 and MC2 meet, but what's MC2 doing before chapter three? Why not introduce them separately and then have them meet?

I have this very scenario in my fantasy novel. MC1 and 2 don't meet until chapter three, but that doesn't mean I can't introduce MC2 before he meets MC1. Or this is what I tell myself to make it possible to sleep at night.;)

Ziljon
01-16-2008, 01:09 AM
I've heard that writers have to introduce all the main characters in the first chapter, if not the first scene. Is this going to be a big concern with agents and publishers?

I've never heard this. Even in life, all the major players in a certain incident aren't always present at the beginning. What if your story spanned several generations, the grandson of the protagonist taking over the quest after he matured? Would that be an impossible story to write?

You have nothing to worry about.

JustGo
01-16-2008, 01:23 AM
Heck, I have MCs who don't show up until chapter four, and some of them don't meet up with the others until the end of Part One. What else can you do when you want a solid variety of characters - have everyone randomly meet in a bar? Sorry, that's been overdone.
Look at Lord of the Rings. We don't meet several of the MCs until about halfway through the Fellowship.
Certainly ruined the story, didn't it? :rolleyes:
:ROFL:
It's not a problem :)

Willowmound
01-16-2008, 01:32 AM
I've heard that writers have to introduce all the main characters in the first chapter, if not the first scene. Is this going to be a big concern with agents and publishers?

You don't have to. It merely often helps.

Lord of the Rings springs to mind as a good example of how delayed introduction of (a) protag(s) can work.

ETA: JustGo! Didn't read your response initially. I guess great minds etc...

blacbird
01-16-2008, 01:36 AM
I've heard that writers have to introduce all the main characters in the first chapter, if not the first scene. Is this going to be a big concern with agents and publishers?

A general recommendation, by no means a law. And it depends to some extent on the genre. It's not uncommon in mysteries for important characters to appear on the scene well into the narrative. Although I'd say you'd be well-served to get all the big ones in there by 1/4 of the way along.

caw

FennelGiraffe
01-16-2008, 01:43 AM
In my current WIP, there is no way I can introduce my second protagonist-- the main character's love interest -- before the third chapter.

I've heard that writers have to introduce all the main characters in the first chapter, if not the first scene. Is this going to be a big concern with agents and publishers?

It depends on what you mean by "introduce". Can you mention the character without him or her actually appearing in the scene? Even that isn't necessary, though.

It also depends on how long your chapters are. If the first two are short, third chapter is no big deal. If they're extremely long, maybe yes, maybe no.

Have you finished your first draft yet? If not, don't worry about it. There's a fair chance that by the time you do, you'll discover you need to cut the first chapter or two anyway.

katiemac
01-16-2008, 01:57 AM
Once again I fall back to Harry Potter in my examples. First chapter: We meet Harry's aunt and uncle, Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall, Hagrid, and a mention of Sirius Black (who shows up in the third book). Finally, one-year-old Harry.

No mention of Ron and Hermione, though, until much later in the story.

Strongbear
01-16-2008, 02:07 AM
I've never heard this. Even in life, all the major players in a certain incident aren't always present at the beginning. What if your story spanned several generations, the grandson of the protagonist taking over the quest after he matured? Would that be an impossible story to write?

You have nothing to worry about.

I've heard of it before. It's usually recommended in various books on writing or on submitting your manuscript to an agent/publisher. However, in practice, introducing characters in the first three chapters doesn't always happen and could be somewhat unnatural and forced just to comply with this silly preference, as you suggest above.

IceCreamEmpress
01-16-2008, 02:19 AM
I've heard that writers have to introduce all the main characters in the first chapter, if not the first scene. Is this going to be a big concern with agents and publishers?

No, because the only people who worry about these "rules" are a) new writers who are anxious to do everything "right", and b) people writing books that they hope to sell to new writers who are anxious to do everything "right".

Write your book the way you see and hear it in your mind's eye. Then see what other people think about it. There is no cookbook that will tell you what ingredients to combine in what order to get some desired result.

Valona
01-16-2008, 05:29 AM
Thanks everyone. It seems pretty much unanimous that I shouldn't fret over it.

Yes, the book is in its final draft. I've already cut away everything I can. The main male protag is the POV character in the first two chapters. In chapter 3 I introduce the main female protag.

I think I'll keep it that way. It will either sell or not.

Thanks again,
Paul