Handing off MC?

In one of her videos, Melanie says you can’t hand off the MC to various different people. Is this true? I have an idea for a story in which there are four steadfast MCs (only one at a time)… is it doomed to fail?

I haven’t watched many of Melanie’s videos (and even then, it was a while ago), so I’m not sure which one you’re referring to. But I think MC hand-offs, just like IC ones, can work (within a single storyform), as long as they share the same MC Throughline storypoints. The only issue is that it may be challenging to pull off and that it might confuse the audience (hence why it’s usually rare): otherwise, it’s possible. Here’s a thread that explains it further:

Most of the time, having multiple MCs or MC hand-offs is the result of having multiple stories within one work (Psycho is the first to come to mind).


Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer - Murder in the Cards episode had Mike tell someone what happened, and when they broke in on the moving screen of described filmed action with their voices back and forth between them, it was as though they could have been swapping MC as far as helping the audience keep up. I’m watching this with the husband, so no expert analysis here, but it did seem a clever way to overlay MC storytelling.

The Main Character is the eyes through which the viewer/reader/listener experiences the story first hand. Having many handoffs might make it difficult for the viewer/reader/listener. If you have four MCs, maybe you have several short stories. I spent decades of my life reading Science Fiction short stories, and they were all short and different and wonderful.

Unlike IC and even RS handoffs, having multiple MC players in a single storyform is exceedingly rare, if it even really happens. Out of the hundreds of movies that have been analyzed on Dramatica and Subtxt, the only example anyone ever talks about is Stalag 17.

This suggests to me that even if it’s technically possible, it’s probably inadvisable.

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Lately, I have been listening to books on tape that I had read years ago. I just ran across an interesting device that might fit the MC handoff discussion. One chapter was fully in one character’s view and I took it to be the MC. Then the next chapter repeated the same events but from a different character’s pov, and it seemed the MC (perhaps it was the IC’s but I was caught up in that view of the happening). Also, don’ forget, we have the Japanese film, Rashomon. I wonder if that could be different MC views.

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Thanks for sharing your perspectives, I will definitely check out those examples. Funnily enough, I just watched the final episode of Succession [possible spoiler alert] and I think Ken, Shiv, and Roman might all be MC (in the story form for the whole show, not necessarily for individual seasons or episodes). When Roman says “we’re all bullshit” it struck me that the three of them could be seen as a MC unit, with Logan as the IC. Can anyone confirm this?