1. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Creating the party

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Edward, Jan 1, 2008.

    I'm sure some of you have noticed by now, but while I'm not exactly illiterate, I'm also not exactly well read, most of my love of fantasy and great stories coming from the occasional RPG (digital, not pen and paper), most of which I never even was able to finish. Mostly because they were all ROMs let's just say I lost them.

    This is a two part question, maybe more depending on how you look at it:

    1. How many people are in the general fantasy party in books of the type? And how does one go about coming up with reasons for people to be dragged across the world for little more than a pipe dream and a stranger's safety? In Paragaea, the book i just finished, the first two people where bored, the fourth person was a robot who was curious, and the last two they broke out of jail and wouldn't have come along if they hadn't been kicked off a boat.
    So far in my story the second character to join the party (for those not in the know, Party is RPG slang for the character group) was crashed in an escape pod and has no memory (Literally, she was made days before and just woke up, long story. Novel long), the third person saves them from bandits and the joins because the girl looks like his daughter, and the next guy is actually the boyfriend of the main character's sister out for revenge of her death.

    2. What places would a party generally visit on their ubiquitous (and often rather linear, I'd like to see some backtracking) journey across the planet? I mean, in brief (which for me never is) a girl crashes into the forest, the main character goes on a journey to find out about the alchemic array on her back, learns she's a weapon, keeps her away from the badguys, badguys try to find her, badguys meet goodguys, they all go out for cake and ice cream, promptly remember they're enemies, and then kill each other. And of course in there the good guys try to find a way to for lack of a better word disarm the array without hurting her, as well as a way to stop the bad guys. Actually, for the most part ignore that (though srsly, I'll still take suggestions) that will fall into place once I finish the map.

    Give yourself a cookie if you read all that.
     
  2. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    Ensembles - Television Tropes & Idioms

    This has the answer to all your questions, but it is a dangerous road. That site was made to poke fun at those tropes, not to say 'hey, use these in your novel.' Unless you can combine or change or subvert those character tropes, your novel may suffer from unoriginalitis.
     
  3. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Ooh, that looks helpful. Gives good examples, too. And I'm completely enthralled by the concept of Archetypes. Not going to use them straight out though. There will be much subversion.

    Ah, hilarious. Nothing gets ideas flowing in my head like someone mocking something. Like those Fantasy Rants.
     
  4. Ari Mar
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    Ari Mar Member

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    Good idea-some kind of blood-debt. I know it's overdone, but that's ok. In writing, we must learn to use cliches, not avoid them.
    So for some reason the main character saves someone's life, and that person is bound to serve them until they have repaid the debt and you get the picture, right?
    You just have to do it in an unconventional way.
     
  5. Milamber
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    Milamber Member

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    How many in a party... i generaly have three or four. so that i can keep it relatively intimate. i think two is a bad number because things start to go quiet once they've gotten to know each other. anything above five i consider a waste of time (personal opinion) because if you're not going to flesh out your main characters then it's no point having them. and i certanly can't be bothered having over five detailed emotional lifeforms to keep happy...
    Although that's just because i'm lazy. There are many books with 6-7-8-9 characters that work briliantly. but that's probably because the authors spent years of dedicated work just mulling it all over...

    I think the less people there are, the easier it is to find reasons to keep them travelling together. vengance is an easy option. or they could be travelling through a dangerous place where safety in numbers realy counts for something. and sometings people journey just too far with each other to quit and go their seperate ways.
    also, if youre characters lose their reason to stick with the group then it's fine letting them wander off for a while. you can always reel them in with some twist of fate so that they turn up later along the line.

    now i've been writing for so long i've totaly forgotten what the initial question was, only that it had something to do with large groups of people... i can only hope i've helped you somehow...
     
  6. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Well, not having internet for so long has actually given me time to think about this problem a lot. So here's what I've come up with (Keep up, it gets hectic):

    1 (Aiden) The first character is the main character, one of the bad guys (Ash) killed his sister (His only relative) and he's protecting number 2 from them, and also traveling the world. There's also the semi-sidequest of finding out what the symbol on number 2's back means.
    2 (Riza) Number two fell from the sky when some backstory happened and someone decided her life might be better lived if she wasn't a weapon, like Ash is. She's going along because number 1 is protecting her.
    3 (Caelin) Number three is a bard, they generally travel and find stories. Why not travel with the people who will obviously have one hell of a story in the works?
    4 (Arngrim) About fifteen years ago he kinda sorta accidentally went insane and killed his wife and daughter (not his fault). Number 2 just happens to look something like his daughter, and one of the villains just happens to be the reason he went insane.
    5 (Gisaine) A female warrior looking for her little brother, she joins the party because they think they might be able to help. Also despite the chain smoking, hard drinking, the fact that she's from a matriarchal amazon society, and her high body count, she goes weak in the knees for Arngrim.
    6 (Zoe) The little brother, who despite being more or less a princess (yes, princess) ran off to be a bandit. Gisaine, wanting to stay with Arngrim, gives him the chance to do the whole walking the Earth thing with the ever expanding group.
    7 (Hirame) Remember how I said it wasn't Arngrim's fault? Well, Satsuko (The wife)'s sister doesn't know that, and being a budding young samurai, she feels the need to travel the world in search of the man who killed her older sister and niece. When she finally believes it wasn't him, she decides to help so that the guy who is to blame gets what's coming to him.
    8 (Wedge) Aiden's sister's beau. He had an idea similar to number one when she died: Walk the Earth looking for payback. He joins the party to get revenge, which means he doesn't get along very well with our next guest
    9 (Ash) Yeah, bet you didn't see that coming, did you? After deciding that he doesn't need to be a weapon, he pulls a Heel Face Turn.
    10 (Jin) Ash's girlfriend, underling of the Big Bads, and the one who sent Riza away after seeing all the angst it causes Ash.
    11 (Geralt) Aiden's Dad. Turns out Aiden's mom was his sister, and his dad was her commander in the war. She ran off and he turned to the bottle. Aiden's not happy when he finds out. Actually, neither is Wedge. Geralt comes around though, but doesn't stay in the story for long.
    12 (Masayyah) a spellblade who after being helped out by the party joins them for training and as a spiritual journey. One of the bad guy's son.
    13 (Meifan) A young priestess getting visions of the End of the World as We Know it. She thinks the Einherjar are the way to stop it. I'll let you in on a little secret: They are. Also, Jingxiao's sister.
     
  7. -NM-
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    -NM- Active Member

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    Yep you're right there, very hectic :p

    Of course not having read your story it is going to seem confusing to just read descriptions of the characters. But i would never have a 'party' of that size.

    Right now the group i have is 3 people, with a supporting cast of a few more who pop up now and again, and that's enough for me at the moment.

    Don't forget that the more characters you have the much more complicated even little things become, as you have to take into account so many different personalities at every occurance. Not to mention you have to have a pretty damn good plan worked out so as to not start drifting off on tangents with one character, only to affect others, and therefore bugger something important up.. :-S

    So make sure you keep good records of all the important little tie-ins between your characters so that that doesn't happen. :)
     
  8. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Hmmm... I think I might cut some of those people out... (or use them as plot fodder...)

    Jin and Ash don't really need to have Heel Face turns and some of those characters are of no use to the plot at as of yet... Meifan, Zoe and Massayah actually. Meifan and Massayah are there literal for the sole reason to have a representative of each race, to match up against the bad guy's multicultural team... Zoe is there to give Gisaine a reason to be there, and hell, Gisaine is only there to melt the old man (Arngrim)'s hardened heart...

    Wedge doesn't actually need to join the rest of them, he's just trying to find his fiance's son to keep him safe. And Garet is a drunkard father that Wedge finds in a tavern and drags along to make answer to his son.

    I think that would leave the party as Aiden, Riza, Arngrim, Gisaine, and Hirame. Also Zoe.
    but then that makes all the love fit into place without anywhere to put a triangle or a dodecahedron... though I guess Caelin could fit in there as well, as an older sister type for Riza...

    Goddamnit, I'm not helping things getting all confused... Oh well, originally I needed more people because there were seven major bad guys... maybe Some of those characters could be drifting in and out and having their own Gaiden going while the rest of them are doing something else. Like when The Fellowship was split up and Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli defended Helm's Deep. Also so that most of the story isn't spent hitchhiking, some of the characters could already be together. Like how the Fellowship jumped from Gandalf and Frodo then the other hobbits, then Aragorn, then Boromir, Gimli, and Legolas.

    Hmmm... that also gives a bit more depth, as people would act differently to people they've known than they would to people they just met. And looking back over everything I just wrote makes me realize just how tangential my thought process is...
     
  9. -NM-
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    -NM- Active Member

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    Well there's less problems with a large party if you seperate them up a bit so, maybe 2 groups of 6 (if you had 12 or so), and giving them their own little storylines, but having them all in the same place at the same time is going to be very difficult because it gives you so much you need to consider each time:

    eg. Event happens.

    How would A react?
    How would B react?
    How would C react?

    etc..

    Rather than just a few people.

    But it's up to you of course, if you think you can handle that many people then by all means go for it ;-)
     
  10. Navy
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    I think the right amount for a party is about 3-4. This however depends on the story. If it's a story about say a group of people that have been brought together to save the world (think Deltora Quest, or Chronicles of Narnia lol) then it should be 3-4. If it's a book about war and large armies going against large armies, then go with 8 people and up. As long as you have the skill and patience to write about all these characters without confusing the reader, then you're good to go.

    The rest, I can tell you is really up to you. Dont base the things your party does, and the places they visit off other things. That's unoriginal. Inventing and crafting all these elements is what makes writing so fun in the first place.
     

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