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10 main characters???? (1 Viewer)

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Senior Member

I got a a wierd question.. I just learned about this trope.. It made how many main characters can you have in a story.. I think I litteraly got a story where their are ten main characters.. basically two five men bands with characters that switch between stories... I don't know I just find this interesting.. lol..


Senior Member
I got a wierd question how many main characters do you think a book series can contain without characters falling off into secondary cast roll. I ask because I was watching a video about the 5 man band troop. I wrote a book with double that in main characters... I want to pull it off again but in one book... I was kind of curious to if anyone else has done this.... I swear i probably could make it 12 main characters if I wanted to... but only technicaly.. any thoughts... I want to write it because I want to do one more story in the universe.


Senior Member
Ten main characters seems a little excessive from my own standpoint. The most I've dealt with (in one of my series) is seven, because five are part of
an elite squadron, one is the captain of the ship, and the seventh is the first officer (who doesn't necessarily appear in each story). I normally stick to
four or less so that I don't have to have any one character get left out of the plot/arc/whatever.

The only reason why seven works in this one series is that they all work together in some form or another, and their arcs are intertwined for the most
part, so it ends up making sense.

I think that with ten main characters, you'll lose several of them in the shuffle trying to include every single one in a plot and give each one enough to
do in the story to run their arc and contribute to the plot or whatever else you're trying to get across to the reader.



New Writers' Mentor
WF Veterans
I think it's a matter of establishing depth. If you have an ensemble cast, you have to make sure you establish their characters quickly and efficiently. We don't need to know everything about them, necessarily, but we need to know their "deal", for lack of a better word.

There are two great examples of ensembles that come to mind:

1) Game of Thrones (especially the early seasons/books). In the first scene, we get a good sense of who all of the relevant Stark children are. We know that Arya is trouble and a tomboy, Sansa is a princess and naive, Jon is an outsider who knows he's and outsider, Robb is the eldest, proudest, and most headstrong, and Bran is a dreamer and a wanderer. Those things change and grow over time, but the dialogue and their actions very clearly establish their roles from the off. You might want to try and distill each character to a single phrase that you can use to guide their early decisions.

2) Knives Out. While there aren't as many "main" characters, there are a lot of players. Each one has their own thing, though. There's Kid Hitler, the Hippy Mom, the WASP-y couple with marital problems. We know these characters very quickly--sometimes after their first line of dialogue. These are more caricatures, maybe, but they're still rich and full.

It's easy to lose sight of your characters in an ensemble too, so they all have to have very important roles to play in the end. I like to sacrifice one or two of them along the way just to limit the number of storylines I have to keep track of.


Staff member
Media Manager
I confess I find myself inwardly sighing whenever I read a story that has a large number of POV characters. It seems like quantity over quality most times, especially when it religiously adheres to the 'one POV per chapter' stricture, especially again if the chapters are named after the character, which is really telling me: these characters are so identical that you will need pointers to figure out who is who. It's a red flag that is rarely done justice, which probably explains why it is not often seen in trad fiction.


Senior Member
I will finish reading but I thought I'd post this... [FONT=Whitney, Helvetica Neue, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif] but I think I have nailed it.. my book j has good reviews.. this is how I pulled it off.. I diid one story to a cliff hanger. stopped it.. started another story to a cliff hanger.. started the first story but with one change some of character from a story are in b story and some characters from b story are missing{hint these are two stories around the same events and I really never deal with more than six characters the hole time..}

P.s. I will be getting back to posting here in a minute..


Senior Member
lanyle and atresha are leaders....

trina and delia are lancerds[/COLOR]
zen and lucky are the smart characters[/COLOR]
sareen and thadass are the heart characters
which leaves skalesh is the big guy.. drop six purr leg of the story rinse repeat while using different combinations of the characters in each... wala.. ten man band.


Senior Member
I think as long as the transition is smooth and you can feel it without harsh interruptions, it's fine. As long as you can make it work, or maybe consider using an external narrator instead of "going in their heads"?
I'm new to writing, so I'm sure there are terms for what I'm trying to say, but hopefully you get it! :D
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