There are many ways to tell a gripping tale. Some authors go for the traditional one-person point of view, generally the protagonist of the book. Depending upon the author, that main character is a man, a woman, a boy or a girl. For example, Scout Finch, the daughter of lawyer Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, is the narrator throughout the book and you experience the book’s events through her childish perspective.
Other authors get more experimental. In one book I read, the narrator was several different characters, with the character’s name helpfully printed at the beginning of each chapter so you could tell who was who.
Some writers have even made their main characters dogs and cats. Ever seen “The Incredible Journey”?
I find it entertaining and a refreshing change when both authors and screenwriters play around with their characters and traditional plot structures. This change of viewpoints works particularly well in movie scripts.
I love the Gwyneth Paltrow movie “Sliding Doors” because the movie’s plot splits into two parts: what would have happened if the main character had caught a London Tube train on a certain day and what would have happened if the main character had missed the same train on the same day. It sounds confusing, but Gwyneth’s character gets a haircut in one storyline so you can tell them apart.
Kevin Bacon’s movie “He Said, She Said” and the Angelina Jolie movie “Playing By Heart” use the same concept. For most of “He Said, She Said”, the events happen from one character’s point of view, then it switches to the other character. You find out the the events in the first storyline have a little more to them than is first revealed. In “Playing By Heart”, separate storylines happen and then you get the surprise of seeing who everybody is in the final scene. I suspected that some characters were related, but I still was astonished by the final scenes.
There’s also the Dennis Quaid/Forest Whitaker movie “Vantage Point” and the Nicholas Cage movie “Snake Eyes”. The movie switches from character to character, with interweaving storylines. Each character story adds a bit more and a bit more to the plot until you finally piece it all together and understand what’s going on. I like a good mystery, so it was fun to work it all out.
This is the marvelous thing about being a creative writer, whether you’re doing stories, books or scripts. You can play around as much as you like with your characters, plots and scenes, as long as it all comes together and makes sense at the end.