Some stories have a clear protagonist--others operate with an ensemble cast.
I'm reading Hell House by Richard Matheson for a third time.* Matheson skillfully weaves four characters into his narrative, switching scenes when hopping heads, and it never feels wrong. He's consistent within a scene, but the reader has four protagonists to follow. I like it.
I'm not playing the same kind of game with In the Memory House, but some of the minor characters have scenes of their own. Like Johnny, a twenty-something veteran of the Iraq war:
Funny—he hadn’t thought of the cabin in years. How old had he been—seventeen, eighteen—the last time Uncle Mel had them to the cabin? That was all before Mel’s prostrate cancer, the chemo, and the funeral. Years ago. Before college, the house, and Baghdad.
Jesus, not again.
Johnny rolled over, closing his eyes.
He didn’t need his eyes to see the thick layer of shit-yellow dust on clothing and skin and buildings and his Humvee. Dust covered everything. He didn’t need his eyes to remember the way Ty Miller’s face looked seconds before the rigged howitzer shell ripped open the side of their Humvee and a hunk of shrapnel tore a gash in Miller’s throat. The blood came to Johnny in his sleep. He saw it pour from the tap. He even pissed blood.
He's not the "it" character through the whole book, but everyone in the cast has a moment on stage.
*Yes, I'm that guy, the one who reads a book or story over... and over... and over again.**
**Only if it's good.***
***Yes, Cate, three stars are fun.