Thursday, January 20, 2011

Note to Self 2: There's Too Many Kids in this Tub

As I mentioned in the last post, dumping a dozen characters into a novel and trying to give them equal weight ain't such a good idea. True, I realized pretty early on that one of my unusually gifted teens wasn't contributing to the plot (which wasn't really a plot), and so I axed him. That left, let's see, NINE other unusually gifted teens to deal with. Plus a boyfriend, a mom, and a shrink.

Uh...

I know, it seems pretty obvious. Even the inexperienced I knew it was probably too many. But I LOVED them! I loved them all! They were great people, y'know? I mean, we've all got that many friends that we easily keep track of, right? Why should it be a problem to keep track of that many imaginary friends?

For more information, see Note To Self 1. You can't build a good plot around an ensemble cast that large. At least I can't do it. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, and video is thirty frames a second, well, you need a whole lot 'o words to equal real life—or even television. Twelve main characters is too many for one book. It's not Heroes*, for cryin' out loud.

So, I relegated four teens to minor roles, cut the shrink, made the mom an extra, and shunted all but three characters into distinct sub-plots. Still convoluted and confusing, but nowhere near its former glory.

Note To Self:  There are an infinite number of interesting, lovable, fantastic characters you could put into any story. You can't keep them all! No. You just can't. I've already told you why. I said NO! Because!


*I've never seen Heroes, but I did read about it after someone told me my book sounded similar**.

**It's not.

3 comments:

  1. That's not one of my problems. I have to add characters in during revisions. Different strokes. And you didn't miss out on Heroes. We watched it a few seasons after my sister got us hooked in season two, then had to give up when the writing went downhill, in basically every way possible.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I figure if I'm breaking five characters I want to be fairly major with any idea, I'm kidding myself. I think that The Lord of the Rings is about as many as it's humanly possible to keep track of. Stuff like Heroes and the Wheel of Time... yeah. Waaaaay too many. I get lost with stuff like that really fast.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Even LotR characters are hard to keep track of sometimes. Maybe that's why many people find the books hard/boring to read even after they've seen and loved the movies. (I don't really understand it, but hey I'm tryin'!) And Tolkien had so many other characters he loved that he had to write the Silmarillion, etc. So I guess you are in good company!

    ReplyDelete