Hey, all! Still on characters. This time with a touchy - feely subject. Well, at least to me. Why? Because I tend to write many, many characters. And worst of all, make many of them MCs.
Let's get to it...
Here's the history of this post. Beside my Paranormal Romance NaNo novel, Hunters, I write YA. Upper YA, I tend to think, seeing as my books deal with hurting, killing people and a lot of romance. Plus, the characters are almost all over 18 (don't get that dirty mind working, I write clean books *wink wink*).
The thing is, my book series focuses on five brothers and how they handle a family feud (by family feud, I mean crazy-ass villain trying to kill them and crazy-ass secret agency recruiting them to fill some shoes). Let me reiterate that, in case you missed it. Five brothers. FIVE. Which gets me to having FIVE MCs. The only good part about all that is that I have seven (yes, SEVEN) books in which to stretch out their adventures and bring all their traits into focus.
My only problem is the first book, in which I introduce them. I start off with one of them, obviously - Sam - my POV character - I stick with his POV for six whole chapters before his deranged brothers take over. The thing is, some people found my constant POV switch (I ended up giving all the brothers a cornucopia of POVs in which they explore their deepest regrets and sorrows) confusing, to say the least.
And I don't blame them. I have a lot of characters! As in, give each MC a love interest, add an extra chick in there for a cat fight, add the cousins and backup team and... you've got a team made out of...18 people.
Which, realistically speaking, seeing as they're battling an army of henchmen, is not that many people. Yeah, try writing a scene with all of them there, though - I did. And without making it confusing. So I guess I don't have any trouble handling a large mass of characters.
I'm still kinda brainstorming on what to do with all the people. And I came to the conclusion that, except for important cousin Billy, everyone in the backup team will be an amorphous mass the reader shouldn't be bothered with. No real traits, no POV.
You might ask why I don't just delete the extra characters. Because I need them later. And I want the reader to remember that they did meet this guy at some point, he didn't just pop out of the ground. I'll work on this.
Back to the five MCs. The thing is, I mostly stick to Sam's POV - so he's like my main MC (MMC :-) ). But, as those who read my story can tell you. some of his brothers become a lot more interesting along the way - and romance nuts know what I mean.
While Sam has a tame relationship which involves nothing spicy, three of his brothers are a lot wilder when it comes to romance. So you have a love-hate relationship for one of them, a cat fight between two girl for another, and a long-lost-love betrayal story for the third.
And then there's Jerry who is like a comic relief because he's so anal about everything. He's the MC who's not really an MC yet. He will start growing and taking his words in future novels.
By the end of the series, all five of the bros will be just as important. They will have grown equally and all faced a life-changing event. Also, starting book three, I tend to break them up - fewer characters in a scene for the win (FTW).
Oh, did I mention that I get into the girlfriends heads too and have their POV? Hmmm... maybe I should have.
The thing is, for me, it's not hard to do. And, fortunately, the one teen reader I had (yeah, I'm looking at you Anna) wasn't confused with all the characters and the POV switches or anything - and they're my target market.
So, I basically like to handle and build this many characters. Everything would be crystal clear if I could write a 200k first volume. But I can't. So the hard part is selecting scenes and putting them together and make all of it flow.
I'm currently working on it. And I'll make it.
One of my critters told me, after she started reading Hunters, that I spent so much time giving my many characters the spotlight, that I couldn't shine as a writer. She's a sweetheart. And writing Hunters was fun. But I miss the complexity and the challenge my YA series provides.
Writing just two characters can turn into a drag. But, hey, it's a short novel which is meant to be fun and fast (for the curious ones, check out the first chapter in the sidebar)
So, basically, I think I might have a character fetish. I think not! Okay, I'm not exactly entitled to say.
The thing is, by the end of the whole thing, people got a clear image of my MCs (even Jerry - he's the anal, stubborn, quiet one, right? - yes, exactly). Which means I did a pretty good job with handling them. I'm not saying I don't need work - I need A LOT of work to make this flow well. And I'll search for the recipe for success.
Here's today's post's challenge/ question - what's your biggest number of characters in one WIP? Counting the heroes, the villains, the friends and even people who appear just once (okay, you can skip waitresses unless they have lines :p)
Mine is: *drum roll* 34 - including bad guys with names, parents, schoolmates, guides and a doctor. (Honestly, I was expecting a much larger number there)
So, what's your extreme number?