Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Wednesday's Writer's Tip - How Many Characters Make A Story?
Last week we looked at the way characters come into being. Now it's how many characters does the story need? This question needs a bit of thought because each story is different and for each story there needs to be the right amount of characters.
I suppose you could write a romance with just two characters but that would seem straightforward and there would be little room for interaction with others and this is where some of the tension in the story happens. Each story needs enough characters to make the story happen. So how do you figure how many characters to people your story.
Too few characters makes for a very short story and too many and you could have a very long story. Each character introduced takes words. Having too many uses words you need to reach the end of the story. Too many characters can confuse the reader, especially if they're introduced in the first few pages of the story.
So look at your story and see which characters are necessary. There's the protagonist and the antagonist both are needed. Then there are the characters who can be combined to cut down on the number needed. Do you need the grocery clerk, the cab driver, or the walk on character. If they don't have a purpose in the story, don't give them a name or a description. They're really part of the scenery.
So look at your story and determine if you have enough characters to make the story reach the end. If a character isn't for or against the main character leave them out. Remember all these people in the story should have a function for they are figments of the writer's imagination and exist to keep the reader turning the pages.