Let me start by saying, my books are character-driven. I unashamedly admit it. Perhaps this style was born of an early love for all the great characters in literature: Anne Shirley, the Pevensies, Sara Crewe, Hans Brinker, the Moffats, and so many more. This love was followed up by a self-inflicted crash course in Dickens who--as we all know--has more characters than anyone knows what to do with. [The beauty in this, of course, is that they all manage to play important roles, but that's for another post.]
I suppose I began on this topic because of my good-humored frustration with all the people in The Scarlet-Gypsy Song. This book is already over 60k words and they will not clam up! :D I am finding more and more characters to follow and though I am keeping the book focused, they will all have their part. It's madness how these book-people simply leap onto the page and demand I do something with them. Would you like to hear a (nearly) exhaustive list of all these sorts? I will pretend that you do, and therefore I introduce the cast of The Scarlet-Gypsy Song. Enjoy.
Mr. Adoniram Woolcott Macefield--an author
Mrs. Macefield--a nervous invalid
Bertram: a twin
Adelaide: another twin
Charlotte: second first-twin
Darby: second second-twin
Eugenie: third first-twin
Fergus: third second-twin.
~If that was confusing, just say it this way: There are 3 sets of twins. They seem to be a disease with me. ;)~
Men of Gildnoir:
Sir Randolph Fitz-Hughes--clan chieftain and self-styled "prince"
Diccon Quarry (Diccon Wanderlands)--Half-brother of Fitz-Hughes
Crimp--grubby fellow (body and mind) who stylizes himself Diccon's "chum"
Host of Soldiers--unnamed. :)
The former Chief of Gildnoir: Diccon's father--a cruel, unjust, but marvelous warring man.
The former Queen of Gildnoir: Diccon's mother--a bride stolen from her betrothed husband, King Octavian of Scarlettania.
People of Scarlettania:
King Octavian: The king of this realm
Lady Cecelia: The princess of Scarlettania--known to the Macefields as Cecily Woodruff
Lad: the court-jester
Dear-Heart: Lad's daughter--a dwarf-girl, and a chamber-maid
Agnes: Plump, pressing, efficient, petting castle-keeper
Windteeth: The highland pony that falls into Diccon's possession.
Captain Phillip Sparrow: Darby's ideal--a noble, valiant soldier
Peter Quickenhelm: A Benedict Arnold of the blackest dye.
Kingdomers: The fill-in-the-blanks people in the tale who make appearances at banquets, festivals, and the like, and who would make you feel a void if they were left out.
The Scarlet-Gypsy: A beautiful enchantress whose power is still felt through the work of her favorite...
Growlbeard: The favorite--a traitorous, black panther with the ability to change his voice.
Mr. Garrison: The Editor. A very important personage.
Yes. You read that correctly. A full two-dozen characters, each of which has a particular part to play. I make it a rule never to put in a character "just because." I mean, of course you must write a throng, but let at least one of the throng have a distinct face! :)
Some of these characters were not there from the beginning--particularly Phillip Sparrow and Peter Quickenhelm; one I have a growing love for, the other I was glad to surrender to his fate. Sadly, two more of these characters mentioned are slotted to die during The Battle. :'( But it must be done, and I am sure it will be for the best.
It is not easy writing a book driven by characters and keeping it on task. I will have loads of rewriting to do, I know, but I have been keeping rein on these book-people of mine and finally brought the 6 plot threads down to 4 by reconnoitering the various characters and making Alliances. Oh mercy. What a job it is to be an author! :)