1. LizRaj
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    LizRaj New Member

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    Introducing Characters

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by LizRaj, Aug 26, 2011.

    This is a pretty simple question, but I'm not quite sure of the answer...thus this thread, I guess, haha...

    My character has three brothers and two sisters. They aren't main characters, but are important to the plot. I was going to introduce them right away, but read somewhere that doing so can confuse the reader, give them too much at once. What do you guys think?

    Also, is it too "easy" to just list them, or do I need to incorporate some story (dialogue/plot) into their first mentioning?

    I hope this question makes sense, I'd love any help anyone can give, and I'm more than willing to clarify anything that needs it.

    Thanks!
     
  2. AveryWhite
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    AveryWhite Senior Member

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    i think maybe a variation in character introductions might be interesting. so introduce them gradually or when theyre needed. instead of all at once as you say, as this can sometimes be a bit too much information for the reader to take on. also it makes it rather boring :p

    and yes i definetely disagree with listing them. why would someone want to read a list of charatcers? especially when you dont know anything about them yet or dont feel anything for them. its important for the reader to get to know your characters, theyre what make up the stories after all, so its important :)

    hope this helps and good luck...
     
  3. Zieki
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    Zieki Member

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    Think about it like this: if you're at a new place, meeting loads of new people, how many do you really remember? And I'm talking remember besides just their name and that you met them before.

    It's the same introducing characters. If the reader meets too many at first, they don't remember the important bits - they remember the name (maybe). Like AveryWhite said, introduce them when their needed and let the reader get to know them before you put everyone together.

    You need to get the readers to care about your characters.
     
  4. LizRaj
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    LizRaj New Member

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    I think I have a better understanding of how to do this now--and what speedy replies! Thanks!
     
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  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Also note that the introduction of a character is not necessarily his or her first appearance. A character may be present in a scene, but not given an active role until later.

    Each character should have his or her own introductory scene. That is where the reader gets to fix this character in his or her mind. So make a good first impression.
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Introduce them one or two at a time, but in the context of the story, so that the reader has a reference and something to anchor them to...and event or situation to remember them by. The little sister who came running in after falling off her tricycle, for example. That would help establish the age, relationship to the main character by how she or he responds. Another sibling, maybe an older sister responds by washing the little sister's hurt knee and putting a bandage on the scrape.

    Two characters are introduced. The reader will remember the names and relationships better...remembering initially the scene they were introduced, but grow from there...maybe sitting around the dinner table with the main character and the two unknown siblings...learn about them in context of the meal.

    Beyond that, take a look at some authors you enjoy reading. Read their works, and study how they introduce characters. Observe the methods, and then modify such to your own writing style and current project.
     
  7. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    ^Just do what feels natural to you. Don't get caught up in what others say. This is your story.

    I think it's as simple as opening with a piece of dialogue:

    "Hey, what are you doing?" Jake said as he came over the hill. He had promised to meet a pair of his friends after school in the cemetery. He'd been searching for them for nearly twenty minutes, and now found them beside a tombstone, chipping away at its top-right corner.

    "Nothing." Conrad, his best friend said, slipping both his hands quickly behind his back.

    "What's it to you, anyway?" Amy, his least favorite friend, said. "Are you the patrol of this place?"

    "No." Jake said. "But that's not right, guys. You're desecrating a grave."

    "Don't be such a nerd." Amy said, going back to the tombstone with her chisel.

    I think you can open this way or even other ways. Whatever feels natural to you. And whatever your story calls for. If you open in the heat of conflict, you might want to keep your focus on your main character and keep the rest of your subjects in the background so you can fully explain to the reader what has transpired. And so you can also play through what your character is feeling or thinking. This will make sure your reader is briefed thoroughly. Enough so that they can comprehend what's going on.
     
  8. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Personally, I would write a small subplot in which the character deviates from his quest because he has to help his siblings as they are in some perilous situation, taken hostage, kidnapped, or simply fallen ill.

    It encourages some character development and also naturally leads to a brief scene in which the reader gets to know the brothers and sisters, and a little bit about where he grew up.
     
  9. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Agreed. One character is introduced in my story but the reader still does not know who he is. If a character is introduced, the reader still may not know the new character's dramatic need. That is, why the character is here and what is he or she is all about.
     
  10. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Well if it's brothers and sisters you'll certainly want to have the character mention them in passing before hand. It 's a bit jarring when we find out the supposed only child actually has seven brothers and sisters he's never mentioned.
     

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