How Many Characters Should You Have?
Something rarely talked about but is absolutely crucial when writing a book is the number of characters you want involved. It’s a tricky business because too few characters can be boring and too many can be hard to follow. Have you ever read a book where there were just too many people to remember them all? You become confused and lose interest. With my series, “The Sapphire Chronicles” I knew these characters would be around for a long time. As a result I spent most of the first book, “Quest for the Red Sapphire” developing them in depth. There weren’t as many characters but you really got to know the main ones so you could watch them develop later. In the second book, “The Sapphire Crucible” a whole new slew of people was introduced and there wasn’t time to have you get to know the main characters. Most writers use sort of a splatter approach and throw a bunch of different people at you, hoping you’ll like a few. When you do that, there just isn’t time to develop them to the degree they deserve. Clearly there must be something to that approach as it is used so often. Still, I can’t believe it isn’t confusing for the writer. I just finished a book where two different “bad guys” both had the same name. That was hard to read. Maybe if there weren’t so many characters swarming around, that wouldn’t have happened. Then you have books with just a couple of characters. It’s the stuck on a desert island or stranded scenario. I have seen it down well but most of the time it just drags on. It is a tough blend to get right. The way you know you’ve done it correctly is that no one mentions it. Funny how that works.
General Linvin Grithinshield was used to enemies trying to kill him on the battlefields of the medieval world of Lavacia. Now he has the fear of being killed anytime, anywhere. He thinks he is summoned home from the goblin wars to oversee the family merchant empire after his father’s disappearance; and for a while he is right. Then his mother is assassinated and Linvin’s true purpose is revealed. He must seek out and find the all-powerful Red Sapphire and claim its might before the murders find it…or him. With new dangers around every turn in an ever-escalating spiral of violence, he must prove himself worthy of the gem and lead his party to success against insurmountable odds. To fail would mean death for far more than just him. The world, itself, could fall into permanent shadow and darkness.
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