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How many is too much characters?

Discussion in 'The Authors' Café' started by Zoruagible, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. Zoruagible

    Zoruagible Lucario Lover

    I'm just wondering but how many do you think is too many main characters in a fan fic?
  2. TeamRocketGrunt

    TeamRocketGrunt WobbWobbWobb Wobrudo

    Any more than the amount in the Warriors series xD
  3. Scaldaver

    Scaldaver Limitless

    Well, it all depends on how well you can convey each character's viewpoint and how much work you can put into each person. If each person gets suitable 'screen time', development and a strong voice, then by all means as many as you want, as long as the plot doesn't get too complicated. I'd reckon 4 was the max, but if you're really expert I'd say 6.
  4. Griff4815

    Griff4815 No. 1 Grovyle Fan

    It depends really. You should really just start with no more than three. Three is a good number. There's variety there and it's not so many characters that it's overwhelming to readers. You want to get your readers familiar and invested in these characters. That doesn't mean you can't have other characters, obviously, but in terms of exploring the complexity and histories of characters, you should start off small. Once you do that, then it's okay to start delving into other characters, as long as you can find a good balance. That's my opinion anyways.
  5. jireh the provider

    jireh the provider Video Game Designer

    Another consideration to take in mind would be balancing your character Point of Views. That's crucial cause not all of your characters will be heroes. Know first on how many lead characters, sub characters, and misc. characters you wanted your readers to focus

    For lead characters:
    a. Go with only 1
    b. Once mastered, start with 2
    c. Practice balancing the POV focus of each lead character
    d. Once mastered, go to 3,
    e. repeat step d
  6. Kutie Pie

    Kutie Pie 桜咲くこの坂を今も上っている

    While it should always be a goal to make every character you have as well-rounded as possible (especially when you have a world to explore), beginner writers should go with one or two characters at a time, at least with main characters (which is usually the number of central characters you have at a time). It's usually forgivable for new writers to underwrite surrounding characters, but a background character has some kind of importance to the story at some point, they do need more characterization than your average background character.

    That's the norm, but every writer is different. As long as you aren't cramming a lot of characters in at one time and have an uneven balance from the start, you should be fine with handling a few characters. Then of course, jireh the provider mentioned point-of-views, but that doesn't exactly limit the amount of characters either which way you put it, since it's whichever is more comfortable for you to use, or makes more sense to use for the one particular story.
  7. jireh the provider

    jireh the provider Video Game Designer

    Agree with you. My first 4 chapters of my re edited original story "Feli Chronicles Vitandes" can help you as how to build basic chapters with first person or third person. Though I hope you will enjoy reading my story Kutie Pie. This is a book for my first video game. To be honest, O'm more on the avid side of writing stories
  8. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    Really, dude? Really? Kutie Pie isn't even the OP, so I don't think you can try to pass this off as giving an example to the OP. There's a time and a place where you advertise and go on about your fic, y'know?

    Besides, I have to add in a warning about using your story as an example (especially for the kind of thing you're recommending we look at): switching POVs mid-chapter, especially if you preface them with "____'s POV" is extremely jarring to readers and tends to be seen as amateurish to more experienced ones. The reason why is the same reason for why putting links to music smack in the middle of your fic is jarring: the reader has to stop for a second and mentally switch gears. The division between that part of the story and the next part is extremely obvious, so it's a lot like watching a low-budget sci-fi movie where it's absolutely obvious that the monster is a computer animation. You can have more than one point of view in a story, but it's an advanced concept, not a beginning one like most people think. It's really better, if you're new to characterization and/or writing, to stick with one POV first.

    That being said, I do agree with Kutie wholeheartedly, especially with her second paragraph. Every writer is different, so how many characters you (general you) can handle is completely up to you. Maybe you prefer working with small casts. Maybe you can pull off detailing huge casts of over fifteen people and Pokémon. The trick is to test the waters first. Write a bit using only a handful of characters and then, if you think you can tackle another few, write another bit with more. It also helps to keep notes on every character you create (even the background ones) to keep in mind who those characters are and how they tie into the story. They don't have to be full-blown character profiles -- just enough that you remember why you created that character in the first place.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  9. Kaiserin

    Kaiserin please wake up...

    When you start having to spread the limelight and attention very thin between the main set of characters and the minor ones, or even having to make hurried juggles between the main characters themselves, that's probably a sign you've got more on your plate than you can handle as a writer, and it's time to cut some out and give their roles to others.
  10. Skiyomi

    Skiyomi Only Mostly Dead

    I think one thing you have to worry about when deciding cast size is the roles that the characters play. They should all be defined and unique characters that each do different things for the story and for the group dynamics. I personally don't like dealing with large main casts that much, but you can get away with it if each person has something different to say and to add. If you're struggling to find something for Character X and Characters Y to say because Character A already said everything that needs to be said... then you might be dealing in redundancy and it could be worth cutting some characters out.

    If you do have a large main cast, I think it's helpful to be able to break the group up into smaller sub-groups some of the time. That way you have the luxury of a bit more of a back-and-forth without having to deal with the peanut gallery chiming in with their two cents, and you can develop the individual character relationships a bit more clearly.

    Me? I've been spoiled by shipping fics and having a main cast that's basically... 2. I've done bigger casts than that, of course, but working on that one-on-one dynamic is honestly where I'm most happy. I recently did a oneshot that was much more ensemble and I had this "Oh my gosh, I forgot what a pain it was to deal with all these people at once!" moment. Then I cut three characters out because what they added to the story was not worth dealing with them for the parts in which they had little to do. I was significantly happier after that.
  11. Evil Quagsire

    Evil Quagsire Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiny

    It depends on how many characters you need to tell the story you want to tell. If it's an epic saga, or kind of a soap opera-ish drama/comedy then probably you can justify having a large cast of characters.

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