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Post Reply Would you read a fiction novel with fifteen or a little more main characters?
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25 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 8/13/16
Let me know if a thread like this one exist or not.
Thanks a bunches.




So, would any of you read a fiction novel with fifteen or a little more main characters? How many main characters should a novel have? Is having fifteen or more taking away from the other characters? Will it be confusing?


Enjoy!!!
Posted 8/13/16
5 main characters

10 supporting characters
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Posted 8/13/16
Sure, books by Tolstoy, Pynchon and Stephenson all come to mind at first blush. Throw in cycles and sagas and other canons and it is quite common. Heck, volume two of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle is actually titled "The Confusion" so it is not your imagination it can get confusing, but so? It just means you have to pay attention more. A book with that many characters has to be good or you won't want to keep track of them.
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34 / F / In a van down by...
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Posted 8/13/16
I probably would, depending on whatever the story was about. The Game of Thrones series uses different POVs

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22 / M
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Posted 8/13/16

Nogara-san wrote:

I probably would, depending on whatever the story was about. The Game of Thrones series uses different POVs



I instantly thought A Song of Ice and Fire because it has a bunch of different POVs through the series.

It depends on the writing. If it's gripping and well written I'd read it no matter how many main characters.
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Posted 8/13/16
I would read it as long as you're able to make all the characters interesting so that the constant changes in POV don't bother me.

In my personal opinion, this type of story should only be written by someone with a lot of experience. A beginner should start with a maximum of 4 or 5 main characters, at least that is what I would do. But if you think you can do it, go ahead.
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M / In Italy for a year
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Posted 8/13/16
no, I forget everyone's names and get confused
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Posted 8/13/16
Absolutely not! I rather have way fewer characters than that in a story. I don't like any kind of fiction that focuses too much on different characters at all (I think that's stupid and having characters all over the place is one of the biggest mistakes Naruto ever had).
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25 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 8/13/16

KurtIrving wrote:

Absolutely not! I rather have way fewer characters than that in a story. I don't like any kind of fiction that focuses too much on different characters at all (I think that's stupid and having characters all over the place is one of the biggest mistakes Naruto ever had).


Well, remind me not to let you read my story then.
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27 / M / Louisville, KY
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Posted 8/13/16
Game of Thrones is well known for how many characters it has. It has so many main characters I honestly can't count them all. People love tons of characters to manage (only if done right).
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Posted 8/13/16 , edited 8/13/16
If it's done right, I don't mind, but for one, it would depend on the length of the story and, second, how the characters are tied together. The weaker the connection between the characters, however, the more difficult it becomes to follow the story. From a certain standpoint, the ideal is one (or two) main character(s) and however many supporting characters you want at one time. If you break down the previously mentioned Song of Ice and Fire (or, say, Tolstoy's War and Peace,) you'll notice that, despite the collective works having a large quantity of "main characters," at any given time, you are only following one or two characters, thus individual chapters almost act as standalone short stories set in the same world with a recurring cast.

If, on the other hand, you were to shipwreck a bunch of characters on a deserted island and flit between perspectives, it would become a mess. In that situation, the characters are not separated enough geographically to warrant the perspective changes. That said, a factionalized cast would almost require perspective changes to cover the full story, but still, you would generally only select one representative for each faction or, withholding omniscience, stay out of the characters' heads and treat the factions themselves as abstract protagonists.

TL;DR

--Yes, I would read it if it were written well.
--For a single novel (not part of a series,) one or two main characters is ideal--beyond that and it weakens the focus.
--Having too many characters will take away from each individual character's story,
--and it could be very confusing.
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25 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 8/14/16
Thanks for the comments, cool people.
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Posted 8/14/16
maybe though i think quality over quantity is the way to go for the most part.
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Posted 8/14/16
If they were introduced gradually and not all at once, if they were 3 dimensional, if they were easy to tell apart from the rest of the characters and if each point of view added to the plot then I would have no problem reading a story with 15 or more main characters.

may I ask if the 15 or more main characters will be introduced over one book or over the length of a series?
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Posted 8/14/16

CherryBlossems wrote:

If they were introduced gradually and not all at once, if they were 3 dimensional, if they were easy to tell apart from the rest of the characters and if each point of view added to the plot then I would have no problem reading a story with 15 or more main characters.

may I ask if the 15 or more main characters will be introduced over one book or over the length of a series?



I'm not sure at the moment.
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