Dealing with Plural Main Characters and Impact Characters

I’m writing an IT fanfiction. The loser’s club consists of 7 main characters and the impact characters are my antagonists which sum up to five. I want each of these characters to be complex. Should I create a separate storyform for each character?

One storyform with everyone having conversations with the contagonist might be a good start. A brilliance of the dramatica theory is the heretofore undiscovered contagonist character that has been an important ingredient in films, novels, etc. throughout history, imho.

TCM started the old films on TV and that was our main watching for some time at the same I had bought the dramatica software and traveled to Burbank for some weekend workshops. I was blown away with discovering ‘the contagonist’ had been a mainstay in all kinda of storytelling in films and stories. Aristotle didn’t stumble upon it, but ten years of discussions between Melany and Chris brought it to light.

It might be a fun, simple way to start, to give your brain some exposure and practice with the basics. You tell the story that’s ready to spill out to entertain people, while the theory gives some handrails along the way.

Well, the pairing of MC and IC does double duty.

Having said that, I would say no. Seven story forms would be self-sabotage. It is insanely difficult to create a story with just 1 or 2 story forms. I think any more than this would be… madness.

Maybe it would work as a 7 book series with different MCs, but as a single story – that would be overkill. A Rashomon effect might be interesting if the character’s weren’t together for the majority of the novels.

On a scenic level, I like to develop opposing PRCOs, emotional states, stakes, etc. But, it doesn’t have to be limited by a story form.

Be a pragmatist when writing. Otherwise, you risk being a theorist of Dramatica or a story former rather than a writer. Both of those things are fine if that is what you want to be. But, you want to write. So write with one story form and fill in the blanks with your imagination.

Just my advice.

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you got me at being pragmatic. thanks!

Just to check: you don’t mean one MC composed of 7 people? You mean seven distinct MCs?

I can’t think of anything with seven distinct MCs at the same time.

TV shows with many MCs alternate between them. Novels (A Song of Fire and Ice) do the same thing: they end threads before starting new ones.

Kudos to you if you could pull it off, but I’m not sure readers are smart enough to follow along.

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I would add that I think it’s possible to write a novel that has multiple storytelling POVs but one storyform and one structural Main Character. So the seven characters could all be OS characters, for example, and each one could have their own chapters from their own POV. But then you still need to choose an MC.


I could see a story being enjoyable to read with each chapter being from someone else’s point of view. But it might be after each one had a novel of their own or some such. There might not be enough time to get an audience hooked for each character without that. It might be a fun writers’ group exercise.

you’re right. an audience needs time to get hooked on a character. i think individual books from different povs would be more pragmatic.

i think reviewers are meant to follow, but readers are there to be swept away.

yes, 7 distinct main characters.

As @Lakis points out, this is a storytelling technique.

That is true, but that also sounds like something you can use to fool yourself. Seven MCs means seven distinct stories, complete with seven ICs, seven RSs, and likely to have identical players with different roles in the OS. My subconscious brain can’t follow all of that enough to get swept away–not in the same book, anyway.

I have never thought to count, but what is the most active, distinct MCs you have even seen at one time in the same text? I read a book once that I thought had four, but once I finished it, I realized that it was actually just one. (It may have been zero.)

This makes me concerned that you are not fully understanding what an MC is.


I haven’t actually read It, but a quick Wikipedia search yields this:

The shape-shifting entity is encountered by seven individual children — Bill Denbrough, Richie Tozier, Beverly Marsh, Mike Hanlon, Eddie Kaspbrak, Ben Hanscom and Stan Uris. The children unite as the “Losers Club” and decide to seek and destroy the creature they call “It”, which often takes on the appearance of a clown named Pennywise. Bill, in particular, has a personal stake in the form of his younger brother Georgie, who was killed by It the year before.

So it’s impossible to know without reading it, but if that quote is accurate, the actual MC of the book is probably Bill, who has a personal stake (the death of his brother) above and beyond that of the others.


The recent movie is certainly one MC, and the synopsis you quote is very clear that the seven people they name are OS characters. I agree that Bill is probably the MC for just the reason you state.


This is an important point. The MC function is structural. You can have seven people, each with the MC characteristic, within one storyform.

I’ve done that with my six ICs. They have the exact same throughline, but express their throughline qualities in different ways. Each of them is just as complex a person as you might want. For example, my ICs are:

  1. The gentle, anxious son of a mob boss (the MCs husband)
  2. His sadistic, ruthless father
  3. The MCs best friend (female)
  4. A guy everyone thinks is crazy
  5. The MCs best friend (male)
  6. The MCs father

I never considered doing this with the MC role, but you certainly could with seven POV characters combined into the MC throughline.

Yes, good to clarify.

Stalag 17 does this, with every character in one particular dorm (they’re POWs) comprising the MC. (It’s maybe 5 people?)

But, it was difficult for me to empathize with them, and other people at the analysis said similar things IIRC.

Yes. It’s difficult to think of yourself spread across several different people (though I assume some can do it better than others ;))

Yeah I’m wondering how the MC would work like that. You’d really have to give them enough time to have people warm up to them and see them as the “I” character.

I just think of how engaging each of the multiple POV characters in A Song of Ice and Fire are (talking books here) and I think it’s possible to make tons of POV characters work with sufficiently good writing. :slight_smile:

You do it by hammering their perspective, not the individuals.

You focus on being in jail, not the people in jail.
You do it by focusing on winning the championship and the stakes, not on the individual players on the team.
You do it by focusing on the oppressive Orwellian demands of the government, not on the office workers.

But this is also it’s shortcoming, since we attach to people better than we attach to abstractions.