Is it weird to not introduce all MCs in the first chapter?

Is it weird to not introduce all MCs by the end of the first chapter (the one after the prologue)?

Please elaborate. Thank you!

Nah, it’s completely fine. Harry Potter doesn’t meet Ron and Hermione until he’s at Hogwarts too. It usually doesn’t make sense for all MCs to be at the right place at the right time so that they’re all together. It’s more normal for people to meet along the way. That said, you can definitely start with all your MCs in the first chapter, so long as you don’t info dump.

Heck, my narrator / first MC only meets the third MC after half the story has passed. The second MC is introduced in the fourth chapter.

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In my book, “Memories of Ignacia Contreras”, Ignacia doesn’t meet the other two MCs until the third part of the book (The book is divided in 4 parts)

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Nope! In fact it is only natural. These sorts of things should come and go as the story progresses. Meeting new characters along the way keeps the story interesting and working them in slowly keeps you engaged. I feel like meeting every character MC at once could become a little dull, but of course, all depends on how it is written.

Also this is probably me thinking more in movie format than in book format but I’m still learning different media.

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It isn’t weird at all. In fact, if you have a lot of main characters (even if the story doesn’t follow them like the protagonist) it’s a good idea to separate when they are introduced so it doesn’t get the readers confused on who is who.

Other times, you may not introduce the characters until later because the timing isn’t right.

Katniss didn’t meet Peeta until the second chapter (Hunger Games).

Harry doesn’t meet his friends until chapter six (Harry Potter).

Tris doesn’t meet Four until the end of chapter six (Divergent).

And there’s dozens of others just like these. :wink:

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Sometimes it is good to have a build up. Frankenstein is a good example.

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It’s definitely not weird, but typically authors delay the appearance of the rest of the MCs after introducing the first either for dramatic effect or for plot purposes. If the other MCs are mentioned in the description of your book, maybe delaying their introduction might make readers want to read more! How many are the main characters, by the way? It’s crucial to have that information before answering such a question :slight_smile:

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If you have a large cast, spacing out introductions could make it easier for the reader to remember who’s who – otherwise they’re trying to memorize a laundry list of names in a short span of time.

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Nope not weird. As long as you meet at least one, preferably the primary one, it’s all good. Besides, if you try to introduce too many people in the first chapter you’ll more than likely wind up with an info dump situation.

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2 so not a really large cast…

I’ve spread them out a few times.

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It depends on how many MCs we’re talking about. 2? 3? Introducing them all at the beginning is fine.

But typically, I don’t enjoy meeting all the mains at once. It’s much harder for the reader to take the new characters in as unique individuals when you’re thrust into a scene with multiple MCs or a long chapter that takes you to see them one by one (something I’m guilty of, lol). Of course, there’s no harm in mentioning your other MCs in the first chapter, but I’d avoid throwing too much at your audience at once.

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What if I only have two MCs and the second one appears much later in the story?

It is weird if you were to not introduce ANY of your main characters in the first chapter (though I’m fairly sure it has been done). It is not weird to not introduce all of your main characters in the first chapter, though. You meet the main characters as your protagonist does. Plus, in life we often have people who become large parts of a story who only show up halfway through. Written stories are no different.

I think it’s fine! The introduction obviously happens at a later point for a good reason.

But how late is late, and by that point, is the character a main character or just a supporting character? Do we get to see their POV earlier in the story? If you want them to be a main and not just a character who joins the team halfway through the book, I would at least give them a shoutout.

Not at all. I have 10 MCs and I wasn’t done introducing them until like chapter 12 lol

But apart from that, I’ve read a lot of published books where MCs aren’t introduced until quite later on and actually loved the surprise.

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I’ll add to the majority opinion - not weird at all. In many novels, PoV characters are introduced whenever it makes story sense, which could be quite late. MCs (vaguely, the primary characters, and usually PoV characters in multiple PoV or omni stories) tend to be introduced in the first third or at least half, not because it’s a rule so much as by construction - if they’re introduced late, they can’t be MCs, can they?

In mine, I introduce the MC and two supporting characters in the first two chapters, but the antagonist doesn’t become a PoV character until 1/3 of the way in, one of the supporting characters gradually morphs into an MC with a PoV 2/3 of the way in

Is it weird to not introduce all MCs in the first chapter?

No. Next question.

How are you defining a main character lol? Is it someone the reader follows the journey or point of view of? Or does it include your hero’s love interest and goofy friends who are instrumental to the story, but the reader doesn’t actually follow?

In these books we only follow the hero and know what the hero is feeling. I’d say there is a single main character.

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No, it’s not. I think it’s WAY too much information to dump into a first chapter anyways :smile:

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