1. MatthewR
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    MatthewR Member

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    How many is Too many?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MatthewR, Jun 18, 2011.

    In a novel written from the POV of several characters (5 "main" characters). I've written other prologues and mid book breaks from other perspectives that could also be made into chapters instead.

    HOWEVER these are secondary characters or "the antagonist(s)" and they may only make up 1-2 chapters *clarification* [per "other character"] in the whole novel.

    At what point do these characters no longer have the depth to provide their own chapter. Is that necessarily a disqualifier for making them into a chapter?

    I feel they can offer perspective or knowledge to the story the other chracters couldn't. At what point is it simply too confusing to read from too many different voices. (Is there such a magical #?)

    I realize I am providing no story-line context what so ever, so try to stick with your experiences with other POV authors and how many charcters they tumble around with? Do they follow just the select few protagnaists? Do they follow the antagonist at all? How about the supporting cast? Do their voices get chapters?
     
  2. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I say try writing it. Do what you think is best for the story. You can always scrap it if it doesn't work but you'll never know if you can pull it off until you try. Like anything else, I am sure it can be done well. It just can also blow up in your face. So IMO, it's all a matter of what you can do. Try it out and see.
     
  3. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    With a concept. I don't think too much characters is too much characters, but don't force them either like the writer did on Spider-Man 3. I have seven characters (three are main characters) for my movie. It isn't bad once you get to know what the story is about. Since you already know, then you may know if you have too many characters in your book by the time you're done with it.
     
  4. MatthewR
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    MatthewR Member

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    The story arc is complete and I've already done one completion. Not liking how much editing was required (a lot of ideas I had about the direction I changed mid-stream and there were storyline inconsistencies) I've gone back and literally started re-writing the entire novel now, hopefully putting together a more coherent flowing storyline.

    The question is more, do I include a single chapter from someone's POV only to never return to their voice. [Many times they might know something one of the other's doesn't and it would give the reader that depth and background another character couldn't give effectively. Sometimes it is because they are on their way out of this mortal coil. (but, that could be said for some of my protagonists as well...)

    But, for that particular segement they add great depth. Or do I write sticking to the 5 "main" characters.
     
  5. BobLobLaw
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    BobLobLaw Member

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    I agree with the others and try it. I've got a quite a few main characters for my first novel.
     
  6. MatthewR
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    MatthewR Member

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    An example I guess would be the prologue in this thread http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=42673

    The antagonist (introduced in the thread above) does he deserve his own chapter or should this remain a prologue? He will have maybe 2 more opportunities to take from his POV.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    You say you've written "other prologues and mid-book breaks"? How many? As a general rule, I don't think having multiple POVs is a problem (Tom Clancy has done it in his novels). But one prologue is enough of a challenge. I would think having more than one, as well as other "breaks" that take the reader out of the story, would make for a very choppy work.
     
  8. MatthewR
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    MatthewR Member

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    Novel divided in to "Books" I/II/ and III
    with shorter sections in the 3rd person perspective introducting each section. These also coincide with lapses in time.
     
  9. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I've read books with more than one POV before (divided into different chapters) and when written well, it's an excellent idea IMO. I agree with what everyone says, try it out and see if you like it. :)
     
  10. T.N.Korgan
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    T.N.Korgan New Member

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    Give it a shot, but be consistent. I've read one series where it starts out one POV but as it continues they begin jumping back and forth between multiple people. I understand why it's done and also have gotten used to it but it was rather irritating at first(House of Night series). An example may be say for every four chapters of the MC's, do two antagonist.
     
  11. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    I've never read a book with so many differnt first person narratives - but that if anything sounds like you should try it.

    Otherwise may have a look at Zadie Smith's White Teeth which has over 27 main characters (but all narrated from a third person omnisient stand point). The story can be argued as dull, but she does handle the movememnt of character (from a prose point of view) quite well. She just embeds them in the chapters. Stephen King does a lot of this as well.

    For a first person pov, I'd definetly make them seperate chapters, even if they're really only very short because other wise it will be far too confusing for the reader.
     
  12. afrodite7
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    afrodite7 Senior Member

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    -honestly,my story is from the pov of at least ten characters...but really three primary characters.the others are really short.it depends on what works
     

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