When you have two main characters, does the first pov give more importance to one?

Onesilvia

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Hey everybody!
I'm currently writing a book (the first of a series) with my best friend and we have two main characters who will have different povs throughout the series. I was wondering if giving the first pov to one of them might make the reader think that the first one is more important than the other…
 

Zach777

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Not necessarily. I'd say readers might expect them to be more importance, but it all depends on how the plot and story work. The second POV might have as much or more importance than the first, but story wise it could make more sense to have the other character as the first POV.
 

tinkerdan

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I'd be more worried about how you start your story.
Some writers talk about a hook. Others like to focus on introducing the character and what the character wants(goals)that drive the narrative and possibly the character limitations or what stands in the way of those goals. And then there is the inciting incident that starts the whole ball of story rolling.

Once you figure out how to start the novel, then you decide which POV can best carry that hook, conflict and inciting incident in a way best to grab the reader's interest.
 

Steve Harrison

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Readers will assume the first POV character is the most important until they read the second POV. Then they will say, aha, there are two, or possibly more, important characters in this book. Readers are smart and know about this stuff.

In other words, this not something you need to add to your worry list :)
 

Swank

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No. A few POV changes in and they won't remember who was first.

If the plot is circular it would be important to select the better start/end POV pairing.
 

Wayne Mack

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I would determine the opening scene and then identify the character who is most affected; that character should be the PoV. As for how the rest of the story unfolds, the reader would expect that whatever is presented in the first section to be addressed in the story. This makes it a little difficult to make another PoV more dominant within the novel, though it does not effect what will be done in following novels.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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I agree with Steve. SFF readers are certainly accustomed to multiple POVs and they should figure out the relative importance of each character quickly enough.

The only possible trouble I see would come about if the two characters are in opposition to each other. Unless they are shown reasons to think ill of a character, readers are likely to bond with and take sides with the first person they meet and it can be difficult to switch their allegiance later, always supposing that is even what you want. However, if you want some initial ambiguity about motives and who they should be rooting for, or you want that first character to be sympathetic (regardless of relative importance to the plot) you can use this original predisposition to good effect.
 
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Swank

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I would determine the opening scene and then identify the character who is most affected; that character should be the PoV. As for how the rest of the story unfolds, the reader would expect that whatever is presented in the first section to be addressed in the story. This makes it a little difficult to make another PoV more dominant within the novel, though it does not effect what will be done in following novels.
Though an argument could be made for using the more passive character's POV to keep what's going on with the other character more mysterious. Sam watching Frodo rather than the other way around. It is the first chapter, after all.
 

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