A thought spawned from PMs with Galloway

This is a discussion on how you handle fics when you have a lot of people, like the Christmas Saga. It’s always hard to give everyone dialogue at once, in my personal opinion.

So how do you write fics when you have a lot of people, all of whom probably want a decent amount of spotlight? Do you separate them? Or are you one of those people with the gift who can give everyone spotlight at once?

Well to be honest, it’s difficult. I keep promising SG that Jamie will play a bigger part, but it never comes to me.

I prefer fics with a small core cast instead. My Islanders, by definition, has a LOT of characters, and more being inducted in various ways. But there are seven core characters: Robert, Aurora, Rydia, Rosa, Cecil, Kain and Edge.

That’s generally the way I try to handle a lrge cast, have several core chars and have the rest in the background somewhat.

<img src=“http://www.rpgclassics.com/staff/tenchimaru/td.gif”> KILL THEM! KILL THEM ALL!

No, no, TD, that’s rabid fangirls you do that to…

And yeah, generally try to avoid having big casts, try to get it down to a few leading chars with one or two real stars and let the rest have a lil’ bit of spotlight when they’re needed. But large casts tends to be very impersonal and confusing.

I either

a) Same as above; core characters and some background ones


b) Focus different scenes on every character, not necessarily in sequence, but letting everyone get in their thoughts and outlook on whatever situation I’ve dumped them in.

Hmmm… The biggets cast I’ve ahd so far is…

about 5 main people and around the same amount of background people, so I’ve never really had any problems with that…

But I guess I would try to narrow it down to fewer main people, or try to cut it up into several parts (I send the people off in different directions. Muahahaha!)

Yeah, think of what happened in LOTR. Gimli and Legolas have a lot more dialogue in The Two Towers because the Fellowship split apart.

That also bring me to another question. How do you manage handling different groups of important characters in different situations? I usually manage to do that well…you just have to not get focused on one group in particular.

I usually try to cut it up into chapters (sort of).

In the first part I focus on one group, and in the second part I focus on another group.
Reapat until there are no more groups.

I generally just cycle through characters as they’re needed, and let them just fade into the background when they’re not anymore, so just about everyone has their moment of glory. Or lack thereof, in the case of the Terrible Trio and Rirse.

And perhaps if certain characters don’t get their fair share of exposure, you could later write another fic from a different character’s perspective.

My system tries to view every person in a quick round of opinions, and then give them their spotlight in an episode or two. Works, especially if yuo want the villains to be more than just “HA! I’m HERE! And all you know about me is what MAINCHARACTER told to you!”

I would think you ought to avoid excessively large casts if you can, it’s a burden on the both the writer, to include all the characters, and the reader, to keep track of all the characters. A good solution would probably be to have a limited number of main characters and make the rest secondary. If there is already enough of a basis for all the characters and the readers are familiar with them (such as in Gallo’s stories), then they can be included with the dialouge distributed among them because they are familiar enough to understand without large amounts of it.

I base this all on my non-existent experience writing stories with more than four main characters.

As you guys know, I have a knack for handling stories with LOTS of characters. That’s because I grew up reading comic books, where multiple-character stories are common (go check JLA vs Avengers, on sale NOW!! Greatest crossover EVER!!) Ahem Back on subject, my secret is… keeping notes. That’s right, I don’t trust my memory to remember all those little details, so I keep lists that I check on while I write, so I don’t accidentally leave someone out. And yeah, as was mentioned above, different characters get different exposure- some are just there as part of the background, others are major. Trying to give everyone a fair exposure is possible, but it might make the story unwieldy.

My biggest success in this field, so far, was (in my opinion) my Xmas story last year. I think I managed to give everyone something interesting to do or say. Of course, a LOT of the credit goes to the RPGC members themselves, who often gave me ideas (Like when Trillian joked about burning Xmas trees, which I actually incorporated into the story, and in fact, served to set up my loss of my precious Gold Watch. Thanks, Trill!) :cool:

My favorite multi-character fight was, however, the battle between the cast of Crono Trigger and FF7’s (in Weiila’s Group Story). Too bad the worm ate it…

If that was near the beginning-ish, I’ve still got that, it was just the posts on the last page or so that got lost… Haven’t got around to creating a thread for it yet though…
On topic, basically I just try to work it that everyone gets a line at some point in the scene, that way they don’t hover like a black cloud…

Well, wingnut, sometimes when you give every person a line in the dialogue, it sounds awkward. What I mean is that it sometimes sounds like people are reciting a story when all of them have a line at once.

Does anybody experience that when you have dialogue between characters? I’ve done it a few times, but most of my stories have a small number of core characters, so it hasn’t happened often.

Just treat it the way a REAL group of people would do it, Om: If the topic is important and most of the characters are civilized, they’ll let the ones who TRULY know what is being taked about talk; you can later write short scenes showing individual reactions, if you feel it’s necessary. On the other hand, a bunch of unruly people -teenagers, say- are likely to interrupt each other constantly, to the point that they may not succeed in communicating.

Once again, I suggest you keep a list with everyones’s personalities (and the stuff they KNOW about) at hand and check it to make sure you don’t leave anyone or anything out. (More than once, I’ve written a group conversation, only to realize that I FORGOT that one of the characters already knew some important fact he should’ve revealed. DO’H!!)