The People Dilemma


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This is actually a writing dilemma. To add people, or not to add people? That is my question. One of the things I hear people struggle with in George RR Martin’s writing is the MANY story lines and seemingly irrelevant characters and minor plot points that distract from the main story. On the other hand, one of the things I truly love about his writing is the weaving of these people through the main plot points, showing how they ARE in fact influencing and affecting the greater story arc, even if it takes a long time to get there. So ultimately, I have faith in his writing and his vision. After all, it is his world.

However, there is something really special about Robin Hobb’s very intimate portrayal of ONE character. I read Fool’s Assassin and was so engrossed in Fitz and the world revolving and unfolding around him, that I rather long for that intimacy in other stories. That said, in my own writing, I have struggled with writing in that limited POV (limited is not negative, it’s a creative choice which I adopted for book 1) and I want to branch out very widely, bring in new folks and new stories in book 2. Can I make this leap, and will my readers stick with me? Book 1 was an introduction to the world and characters, and I am hoping once the readers are invested, they will go with me on another journey. Or two. Or three…..

So the people dilemma, how many people is too many people? I have 11 cousins in this epic tale, to start, and they are all about to attend a funeral (inciting incident), meanwhile the main character just ‘returned from the dead’ (no he’s not a zombie), and people are flocking to the city to see if that’s true. Nothing like a funeral or a birth to draw a crowd. Maintaining each character’s individual arc and story while mixing them together is tricky for a writer, but not impossible. So this is my challenge, add them and add them all, because they are ALL relevant to the final outcome, BUT I have to keep them moving, keep them interesting and keep reminding my readers why they are relevant. And reminding myself. And as soon as they are not helping the plot, their death just may do that instead!

What am I doing here? I have work to do!!!

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