1. Milady
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    Milady Contributing Member

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    Juggling Characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Milady, Apr 29, 2008.

    I've got an idea... but it would involve two "parties" of about four people apiece.

    How many characters do you find easy to keep up with?
     
  2. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    At first, I'm always a bit confused. But after a few chapters or so, I get used to them. Giving them names that sort of convey a feeling of their personality also helps. Sometimes putting a little page of characters at the beginning can work, but sometimes it can't...it's up to you.

    Bottom line: I can keep up with a lot of characters; not sure about everyone else. Just make them memorable characters.
     
  3. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    a person should be able to keep up with a massive amount of characters. but only if the characters are well developed and aren't introduced all at once. (i.e. if you introduce both parties at once it will be confusing... but if you introduce 1 character at a time from one group at a time it will be much easier.)
     
  4. Michael Davis
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    Michael Davis Member

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    Don't know if its an established rule, but I find 4 to 6 characters about my limit to juggle in my feeble mind. I don't mean those that are temporary (e.g, in page 22, out page 24), but those that reappear across the story. You want to have the reader focused on the story, not asking, "Who the heck was that that just walked in?" Just my view of course.
     
  5. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    I love to juggle my characters and give everyone their own storyline and character development. It's a habit impressed upon me by shows like Lost. I like being able to mess around with groupings and pairings, and having the ability to switch from one scene to the other to keep things quick and interesting. This makes some of my stories longer than they would be otherwise, but I try to keep the quality up to go with it.

    My record for character juggling would have to be the film series I write for my friends. Right now we have 10 main characters, all of whom need their own subplots and roles in each episode. We do our best to keep it going, though.
     
  6. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    A fairly large number is easy enough for me...my current piece having somewhere around 18-20 main characters. Sometimes I have trouble cutting back even when I need to as I feel that ends up with some characters pulling 'double duty'.
     
  7. para_noir
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    para_noir Member

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    I'd say about 4. Any more and I'd be "huuuh?" I get confused with names alot too...just can't seem to keep up with them.
     
  8. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have never actually tried juggling charectors on anything other than short stories but I would love to try it if I ever get an idea which warrents doing so. Good luck with it :)
     
  9. Sophronia
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    Sophronia Member

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    I've found that the more I've written about various characters, the better I can juggle them all at the same time if needed. For example, I am writing a series and am on the last book. Throughout the previous books I've written about smaller groups of characters that are now appearing more often and in larger groups in the last book. Since I've been able to develop them for a long period of time, I don't find it very hard to switch back and forth between them...then you have to start considering consistencies haha.
     
  10. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    When I'm juggling characters, I find it best to write one groups entire story first. Then the second group and so on. During editing I weave them together.
     
  11. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    I can keep up with plenty of characters without much difficulty. My main story has fifteen major characters (though I admit that most of them haven't even appeared yet, and most of the time they aren't all in the same place), and I've written stories with parties of up to seven people. Although it does get rather tedious when I have more than four or five people in the same conversation. I keep wanting to stick actions onto the people's speech, which makes for a rather animated conversation.

    As far as reading goes, I can keep up with as many characters as there are, as long as their names aren't too similar, and as long as the writer clarifies who's doing/saying what. Unlike most people, I think, I prefer to keep the physical details at a minimum with larger groups of people. I can't possibly keep in mind the way so many people look at once.
     
  12. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    I guess the final verdict is; some people like lots of characters, some don't. But all agree that the most important thing is that they're different and interesting, (not to mention well-written).
     
  13. FinalConflict
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    FinalConflict Member

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    Well in total there were at some point 31 main/recurring characters in my manga, yet I found myself focusing in on a certain group of about 11 or 12, and I normally write stories with a large cast of characters, so around 10 is easy for me.
     

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