In a multi-pov story, does the most important main character have to be introduced first?

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This is just from my personal reading experiences, but it seems to be an unspoken rule that when you have multiple protagonists with alternating POVs in a story, the most important protagonist is introduced first.

Would this be a weird rule to break? I'm currently playing around with the structure of my novel and trying to decide where best to introduce each main character. I have one character whose plot threads take a while to pick up and as such we don't get his POV right from the get-go but by the end of the story his plot kinda overshadows the others, which is why I say he's the most important protagonist.

Would this be jarring to readers? The other characters all have their own plotlines to follow which all constantly intersect with each other, but they are kind of eclipsed in comparison.
 

Zach777

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I don't think it would be weird to break. I wouldn't recommend starting with a character that has no or very little importance to the plot, but pick the character who makes sense to start with. Sometimes it might be better to start with a less important character if their introductions helps launch the main plot of the story.
 

PadreTX

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At first, I thought the main character's point of view should be first. This is the starting point, and the story flows from there. The story may switch to another point of view, but I am expecting the story to soon switch back to the first one. If not, then I am wondering what the point of having that first part.

After thinking about it, I could see starting with other point of views, then these parts flow to the main character if done right.

Hopefully I am explaining this in a clear way.
 

Steve Harrison

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Three of my four novels have been written from multiple POVs and I can't say I have given this question any thought. None of them have opened with the most important character, and the first started with a character who doesn't appear again until the end of the book.

Like everything else in writing, nothing is written in stone and whatever works, works.
 

Wayne Mack

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It is not uncommon to have a story open with an initiating event that does not involve the main character. This can be an interesting approach, because the reader now knows something that the main character does not and the reader has a sense of anticipation concerning how the main character becomes involved. For example, "Star Wars" opens with Princess Leia being captured; Luke is not introduced until later. Many mysteries open with a murder scene and the main character gets pulled into it later. I would not delay too long in introducing the primary character, but he or she does not need to be present on the first page.
 
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I forgot to mention that my question is excluding prologues since a lot of times the prologue is from a different POV. I'm talking moreso about actual chapter 1, and even a few chapters beyond that.
 

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