1. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    Introductions while maintaining flow

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Flying Geese, Jan 15, 2015.

    I really want to handle this delicately. Right now, my story's flow is pretty fast paced, and I think that's good. I am currently at a scene where two characters are traveling, and they make it to a new city.

    So it's a party of two until they get to the new city.

    When they arrive in this new city, they meet two new characters who are introduced here, AND at the same time, they run into two old characters who the MC hasn't seen in a month's time. So there is a lot for the MC to fill in for the old characters, and I am trying to introduce the two new characters simultaneously, as they continue on their path through a thick and dangerous forest.

    I've read some on introducing too many characters at once. It's something I do not like to do. But this is the right way to do my story. I know that much.

    The good news is that (as I mentioned before) two of the characters, the reader is already familiar with, but just hasn't seen in a few chapters. The other two are introduced here.

    So my problem is now I have a party of six characters traveling together. How do you keep things interesting and involve all of the characters? I don't want any one particular character to fade into the background or to be forgotten. Help?
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Well, some characters DO fall into the background.
    Some are either not vital for the scene (Don't have the info necessary, skills, or whatever), or they are more secondary characters with much lighter roles.
    No use in those stealing the show.

    You can quickly fill in the other party of details the reader already knows through narrative.
    It might seem a tacky/cheap ploy, but it's negligible as either no one notices or it blends well with the narrative.
     
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  3. Dunning Kruger
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    Dunning Kruger Active Member

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    Provide only minimal character background upfront and then intersperse background info on the characters as the story progresses. That way you can rotate through the characters as the story progresses and avoid to much upfront background info.
     
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  4. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    Thanks Kruger, this was along the lines of what I was thinking.

    AMP can you explain what you mean exactly?
     
  5. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is the problem how to introduce the new characters in a fast paced way?
    Or are you talking about showing all 6 fairly?
    If your talking about showing all six without losing one. Its not as hard as it sounds. My favorite show did it with 8. The trick is as A.M.P. said it. They will fall into the background at times but they don't have to stay there.
    Maybe a better comparison is think of sports. Any will do for this. We normally pay attention to the person with the ball right? Well it doesn't make the others less important and general in the course of a game everyone has the ball at some point. That the trick, don't try and focus on everyone all the time. Pass the ball. ;)
     
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  6. koalasium
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    koalasium Member

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    Personally, I would simply reduce the characters down to just one or two MAIN characters. As AMP said, some characters would need to fall into the background, as I see no good way to involve all characters while making it interesting.

    For me, the limit has been about four characters. I simply change the point of view every chapter or something like that, but I think six is stretching it a little. However, I have seen a few books do six point of views at once, though I kind of disliked the books.

    I think it'd be best to just focus on a few main characters, and have the others as side characters.
     
  7. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    Well said, GuardainWynn. That makes perfect sense now :)
     
  8. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    I see your point, Koalasium. I guess I did not mean that all characters must be involved at all costs. As my post title says, my priority is maintaining that good flow I've been having, without any one character entirely disappearing from the mind of the reader that when I mention them again, they'll go "wait, who?"

    There will be two, maybe three, POVs for this party. One of the characters is only the little sister of someone who is tagging along. I do not like to change the POV much. I do it as little as possible, actually. I agree with the side characters idea though.
     
  9. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Glad I could help :)
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The solution is obvious. Your party has increased by two, which disturbs whatever balance that previously existed. In other words, conflict.

    Conflict isn't just hostility. It can be doubt, insecurity, even the simple effort to get to know new people, or to know them in a different social context. It can be baggage unrelated to the interactions within the group.

    And it places focus on the characters struggling with the conflict.
     
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