1. RoryWritesRandomly

    RoryWritesRandomly New Member

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    Dealing with multiple characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by RoryWritesRandomly, Feb 12, 2019.

    I once read in a book about writing novels (which sounds strange when you put it out there) that when writing you should only have a single main character. My current venture however starts with one and ends with eight all together. Is this too ambitious? Does anyone else have the same situation they are working on? I feel like I have a good plan in the pipeline.
     
  2. Woodstock Writer

    Woodstock Writer Senior Member

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    I’m working on a novel which has two main characters and it’s written alternately from their viewpoints.

    I don’t think a lot of main characters is necessarily a bad thing. Game of Thrones has many! Maybe it would be harder to sell, but if it starts with only one and the others are introduced bit by bit then that’s probably easier to handle. They’d obviously all need to have their own personalities etc though and be easy to distinguish.
     
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  3. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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  4. LadyErica

    LadyErica Active Member

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    My suggestion? Pick up book. Light the fireplace. Throw book into fire. Problem solved.

    No, you can have as many main characters as you want. One, five, two hundred, it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is that you spend enough time to develop them all, and they all need a reason to be there. Take Star Wars, as an example. Who are the main character here? Luke? Leia? Han? Darth Vader? I'd say all of them. True, the original trilogy is technically about Luke, but the others don't sit around waiting for something to do when he's not around. And while he's technically the one who blew up the Death Star, he couldn't have done it on his own.

    So no, have as many main characters as you want. Just be sure to dedicate enough time to each one to flesh them out and be actual characters.
     
  5. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Depends on the story. I used to read beach reads like Jackie Collins and stuff. They always had like four main characters and separate storylines that would cross and collide and bump into each other. So it can be done. It is tricky though to keep everything straight. My first novel featured a lot of characters and multiple storylines and it was hard to remember which storyline to address, when to drop certain clues, when to have storylines merge etc. I've never really attempted anything like that again - but I did love that novel.
    Lately I pick one or two main characters as it's easier to handle. I actually just finished a first draft with shifting pov's between two character but as I'm editing I've decided to lose a pov to narrow the story's focus.
    My advice would be go for it and if you have a plan, planning does help. When I looked back at my first story - I thought I had just pantsed the entire thing but I found boxes of notes revealing I did do storylines and I did plan which explains how it's more coherent than it should be.
     
  6. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    Eight people would take a while to embed in my little head. The books that spring to mind where I have successfully followed eight characters are 'kind of' or 'by and large' masterpieces. I do yearn for that level of immersion; those books where you struggle but catch up and they all take shape.

    I've only brought separate groups together once* in my writing. Not an especially successful write, to date - but after a 1000 words of 'Buck' you turn to 'Julie' and they meet in the street. I know it is something I have to do to 'write long.'

    Good luck with your (ad)venture. :)

    *maybe 2 or 3, 8
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
  7. Odile_Blud

    Odile_Blud Active Member

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    I always say there's really no rules to writing. Experiment. See if it works. There have been stories that used multilpe main characters. Everything is a matter of execution.

    I look at "how to" books as more along the lines of tips rather than a set in stone rule.
     
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  8. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    One of the issues I found with multiple characters in the forefront was dialog.
    Giving each character a distinctive voice was difficult to maintain.
     
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  9. Merley

    Merley Member

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    A court of Mist and Fury, a super popular and top selling book, switches POV for one chapter. In the whole book. Like three pages. And then switches back to the original POV.
     

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