re: Multiple Character Quests

in Characterization/Plot/Teen/Middle Grade Fiction by

Dear Editor…

I’m new to writing and currently working on a YA book.  I have three main characters in my book that will be going on different quests.  How should I handle each quest in one book or should they each have a book of there own – meeting up at the end?  Thanks for you help!


Dear Kathi…

Not one to take the easy path, eh? Try some tactics authors use when they have two protagonists with separate storylines for much of the book: 1) Give the characters equal screen time, with their chapters appearing in a regular sequence. 2) Keep the chapters short so readers won’t think you’ve abandoned a character for too long. 3) Transition out of one character’s chapter and into another with a common element. For example, end a chapter with Character A climbing onto a bus with resolve, and start the next chapter with Character B climbing down from her treehouse with resolve. This will create a sense of continuity. You don’t want readers feeling like you’re jumping from character to character.

Happy writing!
The Editor


  1. I’ve just finished reading ONE DAY AND ONE AMAZING MORNING ON ORANGE STREET by Joanne Rocklin. It’s got multiple POVs and storylines going on (maybe 7?), all worked in with each other and transitioned beautifully. It’s a little different than yours, Kathi, in that the characters all interact rather than take separate/parallel journeys through the book, but it’s a great example of multiple-POVing done successfully:

  2. I particularly like the common element for transitions. Never thought about that but it makes such good sense and gives real continuity. Thanks!

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