Novels with two equal sets of characters in opposition?

The new novel I’m writing for NaNoWriMo, tenatively called Space Beat, has brought up an interesting question. Can you have a story where you have two sides, but its not clear which side is good, or even which is the protagonist? if any.

I originally thought I would make my two sides into pretty clear good guys / bad guys, but then I started writing and I realized the characters I created are not so clear cut.

I started creating regular characters rather than 1 offs to work for the “big bad”. Those characters have seemed more interesting that my protagonists. And on the good side we have two characters that so far seem like they might be interesting, but they are really just pawns controlled by the government that they work for. They are police, but as of yet, my writing with them has been more technical and focused on their work. Whereas the bad guys know how to have fun while waiting to meet with their boss.

I think I will try to write equal amounts for the two groups and put them in parallel when I can to make the comparison interesting. It will be a story where the reader has to decide what team to root for in a way. That may be too confusing and weird, so maybe I will change that in editing, but for now I have the sense that if I just wrote about the rookie and veteran space cops, it would be too dry.

I guess I need to also come up with some spice for Jordan and Quintin, the cops I feature that are part of the Space Fugitive Task Force.

Joseph, who nominally works for the “Thunder Man” of Thunder Mining Corporation, also works for the T man in secret on a number of not so above board things. but the Thunder Man and Joseph’s goal is too push for independence for the Ganymede colony however it requires.

The new recruit that Joseph goes to pick up seems a bit more dry so far, but I can probably find some interesting foil type behavior for him, so he reflects whatever Joe is not. The Thunder Man himself is more of a man behind the curtain who gives Joe orders but my idea is to make his presence felt more indirectly in the deference Joe gives him, that in actual conversation and actions with the T Man.

Now that our space cops have finished their first mission and are docked on the Moon, maybe they can lighten up and take a day off, and that will let me write them more interestingly. But regardless, I’m going to write equal amounts for both of these groups, or I may end up making Joe the main character and switch things completely.

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