The general rule is to start your story with your main character. However, if this person’s importance fades later, you might want to make it a prologue if that scene is essential to the story.
This is something that relates to yesterday’s blog about when a minor character takes over the story. If he or she steps into the star role, you may need to introduce them in chapter one. If both your intended main and the minor character are both in the first chapter, this isn’t a problem. You just need to open with the main character’s POV. However, if the one taking over doesn’t come on the scene until later, it’s more of a challenge.
If anyone out there has encountered a similar issue I’d love to hear how you solved it.
When writing a story from multiple viewpoints, I find it helpful to concentrate on one character at a time. That way I can really get into his or her head and trace the story line as it plays out for them. Maintaining the proper chronology seems easier as well. This is most common for secondary/supporting characters as opposed to your protagonist, who is driving the story.
I tend to get ideas for scenes that don’t necessarily fit where I am writing, especially a first draft. In other words, I don’t start with Chapter One and proceed in order. When an idea comes, I need to get it written right away, or it will evaporate. This works for me, but does require paying attention to the story’s timeline and keeping everything in the proper sequence. My main point is not to ignore an idea when it comes your way. They can be fragile and disappear if you don’t capture them when they’re fresh in your mind.
Give your supporting characters unique talents that fit your plot so each contributes something to the story. This enhances their individuality and helps avoid redundancy in your characters by justifying their existence in the story.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, think about your favorite sit-com and the differences between the characters. These traits are also useful for creating conflict. Weird habits or talents can also be useful in describing their appearance and contribute to imagery. For example, if someone is a mountain climber they’ll have a different appearance than someone in a garage band.