For context, I am writing a graphic novel. I always used to imagine I would have some characters (mainly protagonists) reveal their internal monologue while others (mainly the antagonists) don't. They just express themselves with speech/actions. I wanted to do this for a number of reasons, one being I wanted some character's intentions to be hidden for awhile. I then realized this might seem like favoritism of certain characters and lead to the story seeming more black-and-white.

I thought one way to combat this (to an extent) is to allow all characters to reveal internal monologue, but some reveal all of theirs while others reveal less to varying degrees (maybe on a situational basis, such as only when they alone in their room).

I worry though that readers might get frustrated or confused by the inconsistency.

Is that something I should actually be concerned about or not? If so, what would you recommend I do instead? If you disagree about what I said regarding favoritism, let me know as well.

3 Answers 3


This is true of children and cats: They're all my favorites because I love them equally. But this one is my special favorite.

It's also true of characters.

In a real life situation where you're supposed to love everyone equally, you wouldn't treat them all the same, would you? Extra lap time is a treat for one kitty but annoying for another. Ditto for a human child getting to go shopping with mom.

Don't show everyone's thoughts. Let the reader work a bit. Show a few here and there, as suits the story. In my novel, I'm mostly in my MC's head but I have a secondary character whose head I explore in a couple chapters. If I spent time in everyone's head (or even the main 6-8 people), I'd drive myself crazy before the reader even got to be driven crazy.

It's not inconsistent to focus more on one character than another. It's expected and normal. Even authors who go inside the heads of multiple characters will pick and choose.


By their very nature as being main characters, your main characters would receive more attention than side characters. That's what makes them 'main'. It's their arc that we follow, it's their motivations that we know, it's them we care about and sympathise with.

Take The Lord of the Rings as a famous example: we know what goes on in Frodo's head, also in Sam's, a bit less of Merry and Pippin. We see a lot of Aragorn, Boromir and Gandalf, but what goes on in their heads we must infer from their actions. As for Legolas and Gimli - those characters remain virtually undeveloped. (And that's just the members of the Fellowship.) That's as it should be. The story is the story of certain particular characters - the main ones. Other characters are prominent in that story, but it's not their story. Yet others walk into the story for a spell, then walk out of it again.

You cannot tell the story of each and every character in your universe. If you try to do that, if all the characters are 'main', the story would disappear - one wouldn't be able to see the forest for the trees.

Of course, that isn't to say that minor characters shouldn't have motivation of their own. It's just that we would see less of them, know less of them, and must infer who they are from the little we see. To continue with the Lord of the Rings example, Faramir is a fascinating character: he has motivation (Gondor), he has his own conflicts - his story could be a fascinating one. But we don't get to follow his story - we don't see him grieving for his brother, we don't know whether he blamed himself or his father for the fact that Boromir went to Rivendell instead of him, we can only imagine what his life growing up was like, or who his friends were. All we see is as much of his story as crosses paths with the hobbits.

It's not favouritism that some characters get more spotlight than others. That's the way it's supposed to be.



ANSWER: You can do this any way you choose. Do not let worries about "what will readers think" stop your creative process in this moment.

But additionally, the idea of secrets is a good one, when done well. It keeps tension. I encourage you to work these into your story in one form or another.

I'd personally handle this by using internal monolog to provide lots of internal thought and keep the important nuggets to the characters that I want. In other words, give everyone internal monolog, but only give important thoughts to the ones I choose.

And this should be guided by the characters' personalities, too. Luna Lovegood's internal monolog will be quite different from Albus Dumbledore's, and will serve a different purpose.

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