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Question concerning multiple characters

R-N-B Lover

Beginning Trainer
I am writing a fanfic, I have a skeleton made, and am currently fleshing out small details. The question comes as a result of having multiple protagonists. This is not a trainer fic, so as a result my main characters will not be traveling together around 75% of the time. How do I go about properly portraying all characters at once, how do I give the proper amount of "screen-time"? How much do I dedicate to back story and such? I have 4 Primary Main characters and around 6 Secondary Main characters.
 

Azurne

~ ♥ ~
Well, I would first reconsider why your story needs that many prominent characters. Stories with a big cast can work, but you may find that investing development in only a few characters (instead of stretching your scenes and jumping around from character to character) would be better.

Secondly, I'd like to hear your definition of a "main character". Main characters are called as such because they are the centerfold of the story - everything is told from their perspective or they have significant purpose in the plot. Without them, there really is no story to be told. Being a secondary character, however, doesn't necessarily mean the character has no purpose or is less "important". Secondary characters can be crucial to the main character's development or be vital to the story, while still remaining in the background. Just because they have the label of being the "back up" cast doesn't mean they're expendable or don't deserve their own story.

If you find that you really do need all of these "main" characters, then I'd first start prioritizing which characters are going to require the most on-screen development time, or maybe even which characters you find yourself writing about the most. Sometimes when you write, even if you don't think you'll have favorites, you'll enjoy writing about certain characters more than others. Those will be the ones that appear often and if you're not careful, can overshadow the other supposed "main" characters.

Properly portraying them all at once is a tricky thing though - you can either break their points of view up chapter by chapter, or you can use the classic scene breaks when changing perspectives. Just don't try to go over the same plot event five times because you want to get every character's impressions of the scene. That's really tedious for the reader to have to blaze through just to move on with the story, and you'll bore them to tears regardless of how interesting you think each character is.

Background story is all up to you. Some characters may need more back story than others; you'll just have to find out by experimenting with their characters.
 

Slipomatic

Eon Collector
Another option/idea that you could utilize would be instead of trying to squeeze it all into one fic, seperated it into multiple fics focused on one of the main characters. It will give you a way to express the stories from different point of views and let everyone of your main characters express themselves. Of course this would mean more writing, but that is a small price to pay if you have that drive.
 

ChloboShoka

Writer
Another option/idea that you could utilize would be instead of trying to squeeze it all into one fic, seperated it into multiple fics focused on one of the main characters. It will give you a way to express the stories from different point of views and let everyone of your main characters express themselves. Of course this would mean more writing, but that is a small price to pay if you have that drive.
I like this idea because of the points already said. So in a way, the multiple fics could all be a series of fan fics.
 

R-N-B Lover

Beginning Trainer
Hmm good points, @Azurne, first love the avatar, second I have 4 characters who are the exact center of the story, and the others do revolve around the spotlight. However the cast of secondary characters is very crucial to the procession of the story. THe problem I am trying to overcome in writing the scene breaks is that, it sometimes breaks the flow of the story. Often I find myself unsure of the best place to put a break in, would it be during a moment of tension or better used during a period in which there is little to no action?
@ SHipomatic I was considering that path a la "The Avengers" but I decided to cut to the final product and possibly write prequels.
 

Clarke

New Member
I am writing a fanfic, I have a skeleton made, and am currently fleshing out small details. The question comes as a result of having multiple protagonists. This is not a trainer fic, so as a result my main characters will not be traveling together around 75% of the time. How do I go about properly portraying all characters at once, how do I give the proper amount of "screen-time"? How much do I dedicate to back story and such? I have 4 Primary Main characters and around 6 Secondary Main characters.

You create a world and show each one within it. Helps to cut down by having some interact with each other. It's like Godfather - we meet lots of characters in the opening wedding sequence.
 

Tigereye13

Active Member
Well, I don't know if you have ever seen Baccano! but your idea made me think of it. It interweaves the all of the character's stories together so that it flows nicely. It gives just enough focus on each character so that you know what drives them along with being able to get a feel for each person, even if they aren't as important as some of the others. How it tells its story is that generally an episode will focus on mainly one character or that character and their family/friends and how the event played out with that person/group. So, at times the same event will be seen but it will also be expanded upon. So, maybe have chapter one be devoted to character A, chapter two to character B, and so on.

The most important thing is that you need to make sure not to lose any of your characters during the shuffle.
 
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