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QOTD Thursday

Post  Maggie on Thu May 05, 2011 11:57 am

It's a beautiful day, and I have a new question* for you. Smile

QUESTION: Do you like to have large casts of characters in your books or smaller groups? Or maybe a mix of both?

BONUS QUESTION: Why haven't you asked editor Alison Weiss a question yet!? ANYTHING you can think of. There's no pressure! She will answer, because she's awesome like that.

*the questions won't always be writing related

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Re: QOTD Thursday

Post  Amanda on Thu May 05, 2011 4:13 pm

I tend to like larger casts better--I'd say one good reason for that would be if I don't like one of the major characters, there are several more to fall back on. And a larger cast lends itself to more complex plots and subplots. Who would've watched Friends if there was only Ross and Rachel? Well, okay, some people love those characters, but my favorite was always Chandler--would I watch it w/out Chandler? Probably not. I just don't love the rest of the characters enough.

I average about four POV per book, w/ several majorish characters that don't get a viewpoint. So I guess it's what I like to read and what I like to write. I'm trying to think of a popular book with only a small cast of characters, & I can't think of any at the moment, though that might be due to fatigue. I did squeeze in five hours of sleep, though, so it's been better than I expected. Sleep
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Re: QOTD Thursday

Post  Sarah on Thu May 05, 2011 4:17 pm

I guess it would depend on the book but so far I favor large casts. It's just more fun to have a ton of different personalities and to mix stuff up with everyone by throwing in another person. It makes things more complex and lets every reader find someone they identify with and really like, like what Amanda said with Friends Smile Plus, it's nice to get to focus on someone else when a certain character is annoying/boring me haha
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Re: QOTD Thursday

Post  Shahira on Thu May 05, 2011 8:17 pm

I like smaller casts only because I like to focus on a few characters at a time. &maybe because a lot of different characters is a bit overwhelming for me. Lol. I guess that's because I haven't had enough experience in writing novels so it's tough. :]
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Re: QOTD Thursday

Post  Maggie on Thu May 05, 2011 8:20 pm

Love the answers! Very Happy

I like big casts, if they're done well. I don't like them so big that I get confused with who's who, but I do like -- like Sarah said -- a variety.

I'd have to say as far as writing characters, though, I prefer it right in the middle. A medium cast. xD

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Re: QOTD Thursday

Post  Stephen on Thu May 05, 2011 8:28 pm

I like both small and big casts it all depends on the story behind the characters there can be 1 as well as over 20 Characters that have essential parts to play in it although it gets more difficult when there are more characters it also get more complete because if you look at our lives there are loads of people who help us or get in the way of some goal or other that we had Smile
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Re: QOTD Thursday

Post  AndrĂ© on Thu May 05, 2011 9:40 pm

When I'm reading a book, I don't care as long as it's done well. When I'm writing...so far every one of my books has focused on the main character and has been told completely from his or her point of view. My current WIP, though, has three main characters, and I'm constantly switching between them. It's a lot of fun, actually, and I have the feeling I'll end up using larger casts more often in the future. I don't know how large, though...I like things manageable. XD
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Re: QOTD Thursday

Post  Taryn on Fri May 06, 2011 6:35 pm

Sorry I'm a day late, but I think this is an awesome question and I wasn't able to answer yesterday b/c of my flight.

I think small casts are very, very important. In my first few novels I had huge casts, and when I realized they were slowing down my plot and diluting character development, I had my first writer epiphany. As a new writer, you'll want to start with huge casts. I had an entire swim team in my first novel, like forty people. BUT YOU SHOULDN'T. If you're new, you can't carve that many characters. You don't know enough to make them individual.

I wittled (whittled?) it down to the bare minimum with Splashback, and that was the first novel I felt had potential. There are problems with small casts, especially in mysteries/thrillers, but once you know how to make every character special, you can add characters.

/rant over
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Re: QOTD Thursday

Post  Constance on Fri May 06, 2011 7:43 pm

I like what Taryn had to say.

When I'm reading, I like small groups. I can never remember big casts. So, when I'm writing, I like writing small groups.
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Re: QOTD Thursday

Post  Maggie on Fri May 06, 2011 7:50 pm

I totally agree with you, Taryn.

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Re: QOTD Thursday

Post  Amanda on Fri May 06, 2011 9:21 pm

Well, I think small casts vs. large casts should be better defined. B/c when you get to 40 people, I would classify that as a ginormous cast. Shocked Small cast for me is 2 to 4 major characters, as in you don't really care about the others and they play very minor roles, and large cast is 5-15 characters in varying stages of major-ness. Like you've got Frodo, Merry, Pippin, Sam, Gandalf, Boromir, Faramir, Gimli, Legolas, Aragorn, Eowen, maybe Arwen...Sauron, Saruman, & Gollum. That's fifteen, and so just barely fits into my idea of 'large cast,' pushing the boundaries of reader memory, haha. A cast of more major characters would fit into my 'ginormous cast.' Which I generally don't enjoy, unless I'm obsessed and really care about each individual, a la my Warriors phase. (It had cats. Don't judge. Razz)

I think, in the novel I'm currently working on, I've got the four PoV characters, and then like three or four other major characters who don't have a PoV. So about 7 or 8, all together.

I just realized that my cast classifications include every number except for one. So I shall give one a classification--boring. Razz
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