How much is too much?

Anyone have a good idea of how many characters is just too damn many? Main characters, I have MAYBE eight, but even with those, the main focus is on about four of them.

Secondary characters, however….eek.

Most of them are only going to be mentioned once or twice, but they’re still there. *sigh*

Any ideas/suggestions?

20 thoughts on “How much is too much?

    1. 8 characters, but that’s pretty much the total for all three books in the series. Everything else I’m seeing is saying “don’t worry about how many…just make sure you make them different enough that the readers won’t be confused.”

      And actually, there’s more than 8. I forgot about a couple of them…dammit. 😦

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      1. Well, then the question becomes “what do you consider to be a main character?”

        And I don’t actually have it broke down by books yet. Most of the “main” characters introduced in the first book will stay in all 3 books. I don’t have any plans for adding other main characters. At the moment, anyway…but stories do tend to take on a life of their own, so…*throws hands in air*

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      2. I’m thinking it also depends on the genre and/or length of the book/series. I took a look through a couple books nearby, and the fantasy books all seem to have between 8-15 characters that play a large part in the series. The romcom ones have about 8, (quick count).

        I think this is going to end up being one of those “write what feels right, kill off/combine people later” deals. Dammit.

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      3. Yeah, it definitely applies to Fantasy (GOT anyone?) But I’m weary of any other genre with so many characters, and to be honest, I’m also weary of most Fantasy books with too many characters. I mean, it’s doable, but not anyone can pull it off, and a lot of first time novelists end up being sucked by the black hole of characters. They don’t give them the proper development they need in the end.

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      4. GoT is just ridiculous. Not too fond of the author, either. He keeps killing the people I like. And dear god, even with all the character he’s killed, he STILL has a butt load of people. Mine isn’t anywhere NEAR as bad as that.

        Think more along the lines of Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels books. There are a lot of people mentioned in the series, but you never get confused about who is who, or who did what. Almost everyone mentioned plays a part in one way or another, and a good number of them then disappear…but still stay in your head. I swear, the woman is a genius.

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      5. Trying to keep that VERY limited. it mostly goes between 5 characters, but there’s been a section here and there that are dedicated to another character. They’re usually inbetweens though. The person finds out something to pass onto one of the main characters, or they’re following the orders of one of the MCs, and you see what happens etc.

        I actually have the link for a couple of the chapters on the main page, if you want to take a look for yourself 🙂

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      6. kind of. You usually show your work to CPs before you do Betas : ) Betas are usually a part of your market, you always show them the end product, whereas CPs see the raw stuff

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      7. Ah, I’ve always just called them betas. Either way, yes, I am familiar with the concept. I used to have a pretty dedicated bunch, but they all hit rough patches with their lives, so I’ve had to let them go. :/

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