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I heard that this is difficult to execute well from a writing standpoint. The writer usually wants the audience to follow one protagonist along on an interesting journey. But that is harder sell when the protagonist is changed halfway through a story.

There are story beats in my story:

opening image, introduction, statement of theme, catalyst, debate, b-story, new characters, midpoint, low point climax, beginning of the end, finale

When I switch my main character do I have to start over, or can I start from the midpoint? If I start from the midpoint, do I need to take a character with the same goals, objective and mentality?

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  • What you're doing is so unconventional that I think it might help you get better answers to your question if you include a little more information about why you think it's a good idea for your story to switch protagonists halfway through the novel. How do you intend to make that work and why is it important to you?
    – levininja
    Jun 14, 2022 at 3:14

2 Answers 2

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You write the story in the way that makes sense to you, regardless of the story beats. Then, after the story is written, you can consider the story beats during revision. They can help amplify the emotional arc of the story. They provide good points in a story to emphasize various elements, like the theme or the B story.

If you finish the draft, and you feel something is off in the structure, then the story beats are one great way to sort through what that thing might be. It bears mentioning that these are screenwriting beats, and screen is different than novel-based storytelling.

So trust your ear more than story beats, and think of these beats as one of the tools you can use while figuring out how to improve your story. You probably naturally write in a decent structure already, and forcing something that feels artificial might end up causing more problems than it solves.

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You can do whatever works. Switching a protagonist is very hard because we are invested in the character and are being asked to take up with a stranger. (It may be important that the new protagonist NOT be a stranger, if feasible.)

But if it makes sense for the new character to take up where the other left off, it can work.

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