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Old 09-18-2012, 10:57 AM   #16
VydorScope
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I have 3-4 main chars, and each of them have a group of primary supporting chars that match them. So not sure how you count that. Those supporting chars are pretty fleshed out, and critical to the story, but then I also have a layer of "that guy in the background that makes the scene real"

For example you might have 2 chars go to a gas station in NJ were gas attendant helps them. That attendant needs to be there (self serve is illegal in NJ) for the scene to be believable, but he is more of a prop then a character. Probably most good stories have a ton of those kinds of characters.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:12 PM   #17
DarnellSaki
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It depends, I think in fantasy stories you can get away with a huge cast of characters, and if you feel like it's overburdening to your readers you can make a character map at the back of the book.

The trick however is to make each character have a distinct voice so they stand apart from eachother.
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Old 09-18-2012, 03:35 PM   #18
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a man eating shark (why are there no woman eating sharks?)
A colleague's loyalty. Ever heard the term man-eater?
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:26 PM   #19
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Yes, I suppose that you could have them turn cannibal and dispose of some character with a burp. Or maybe have a man eating shark (why are there no woman eating sharks?) chew its way through some superfluous characters.
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You have to maintain control or your efforts chance becoming tedious both for you and the reader or even sloppy.

If necessary, try random character elimination.
These two suggests sound like very similar suggestions

As the cast and threads of a story grow I do think that a certain amount of random karma (good or bad) is appropriate and realistic. Of course it remains important that you don't appear to be just killing off your problem children.
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:43 AM   #20
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A colleague's loyalty. Ever heard the term man-eater?
I got to agree. In fact you could consider me an expert on the species, both fresh water and salt water. I don't have any missing limbs thank goodness but I got a lot of scars and like a friend of mine likes to say "I built a lot of women houses."

On the plus side of things, I am starting to get a whole lot of darling grandchildren.
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:34 AM   #21
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DarkScribe
a man eating shark (why are there no woman eating sharks?)
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A colleague's loyalty. Ever heard the term man-eater?
Pronounced collegiality is a trait of army ants, killer bees, wasps and some other groups.

Last edited by frahse; 09-21-2012 at 06:36 AM.
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:44 AM   #22
John Carroll
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I use 1 or 2 main characters for short stories (usually 1), and 1 to 4 supporting characters. I use 1 or 2 main characters for novellas, and 3-6 supporting characters. Thus far, I've used 3-5 main characters for novels with about 3-20 supporting characters.

There's usually a few mentions of other people with little description and no background, such as portly cook, tall shopkeeper, man on the street #2 . . .
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