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New Trend - too many major characters

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  #1  
Old 01-05-2013, 01:02 PM
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Default New Trend - too many major characters


I have just read Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling and Torchwood: Exodus Code by Carole and John Barrowman.

Both are third omniscient and involve getting to know a lot of characters Whilst I prefer one POV throughout the book I am not adverse to reading them with more but I am finding it frustrating to get to know a character and not be reintroduced to them for several chapters.

Yet Les Miserables and Little Women never bothered me - they introduced the character so comprehensively to start off with that the questions at the end of the chapter were about the plot and not the characters.

I am not sure what I am trying to say but do you prefer books with fewer characters?

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Old 01-06-2013, 05:47 AM
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Hi Anya I like a book with characters that have a steady role throughout the story. I tend to dislike books that introduce characters for the sake of a background to only then to drop them and out of the blue.
A bit like movies where you have background silent characters that hang around and never say anything. You see them and you know they are not part of the story.
I still do not get what you mean by
''too many major characters''? Do you mean they played a major role and then disappeared?
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:50 AM
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More they are a large part of the story but only appear every few chapters.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:43 AM
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Well three or four characters for me is best although less is better depending on the story. A friend of mine always said that there shouldn't be more then two characters in a story ... and one of them should be a dog.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:24 AM
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Depends how it's handled - can't comment on the ones you've mentioned, as I've not read them, but I recently read A Game Of Thrones (yes, I know I'm a bit late to that party), and that book handles roughly 17,854 major characters and still manages to keep them distinct, and the stories for each well-paced.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:13 AM
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I don't know what's weirder, the idea that there is some positive or negative value attached to the number of characters... or the idea that having a lot of characters is a "new trend".
If it bothers a person, I guess they can just avoid books with a lot of characters. Like, you know, Lord Of The Rings, The Iliad, War and Peace, all that new-fangled head-hoppery.
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:34 AM
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I mentioned Les Miserables and Little Women - not exactly new texts.

However, I have read yet another one today by Tom Dale and I think I will be steering clear of any others like it. The more recent trends, especially in genre, have been towards narrowing the focus on one or two POV characters.

The POV characters seem to change so rapidly that as a reader I have not been allowed to gain a relationship with any of them.

In something like Cloud Atlas it can have a purpose but with the ones I have read lately it feels like lazy storytelling.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:33 PM
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I was going on your "New Trends" headline.

If you can't handle POV switches, stick to other stuff. But it's not some awful trend and most readers and writers get by.
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Old 01-12-2013, 06:12 PM
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I don't want to be too obvious about this but some stories involve more characters and other less. Must we conclude that only those stories with few characters should be told?
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Old 01-12-2013, 06:56 PM
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Really good point.

I'm continually amazed at people passing off these judgements on other writers.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:35 AM
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Why? Readers pass off judgement all the time and as a reader I have an opinion on the books I have read recently.

I think that has been the frustrating thing - that to tell a story with many POV characters can be used as a lazy plot device and it appears to be a trend to do so. The thread was more than just a title but hey ho. In future I will not bother contributing to this side of the forum it gets just as crap as the other.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:12 AM
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That's what people always come up with when they are ranting about something that just doesn't matter or add up: doing it any other way than the way I do it is "lazy".

In this case it's particularly hilarious. It's "lazy" to create a lot of characters.

I have no idea why you keep gnawing on this. It's very obviously not a "New Trend", and it's obviously not something that keeps books from being great and being widely purchased and enjoyed.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:52 PM
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surely every author is Mozart, in this regard. the reader being the fool who claimed a piece had too many notes.

"too many, sir? why it has neither too many, nor too few. it has precisely the right number" or words to that effect.

Last edited by bumhead; 01-22-2013 at 04:27 PM..
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