Too many people!

I am using some of my time off this week to outline a rewrite of my Blythe By Name story and plan for the sequel, Blythe By Nature. And I am having the HARDEST time dealing with all of these characters! The adults AND their children. With all of the Blythe, Meredith and Ford second generation and all of their children AND the Golden kids, I've got something like 30+ primary and secondary characters to deal with!

I am thinking of paring things way back, by making Sally an only child and taking the Cam, Walt, and Helen characters and making them cousins, giving them away to Jerry and Nan and Rilla and Ken. It goes against canon, since LMM mentions Walter Blythe in The Blythes are Quoted and The Road to Yesterday, but think it makes sense that Jem and Faith would only have one child, given the fact that both Jem and Faith are devoted to their careers. And that way, the other characters could be mentioned from time to time without having to have a major role.

What do you guys think? How do you handle so many characters (especially Adrienne--I think TTTT has the most amount of characters any of our stories!)

Argh! I really want to write this story because I want to write a more "realistic" sequel, but I am feeling so frustrated by this story, I'm seriously considering just abandoning it all together. But the story I have for Sally and Harry is one that I really want to write. So I don't know.

Are you all working on anything lately?
6 Responses
  1. I was just thinking about all of our fics the other day! Real life seems to have cut into most of our abilities to keep up on fanfic. I've been thinking on and off about Gwen, but the amount of research I would have to put into her WWII story to satisfy myself is a fairly daunting task, especially given how many other projects I have going on right now.

    For me, with the multiple character thing - I found that I almost naturally tended to focus on just a handful for each story. For SoS, it was Gwen, Phil, Lynde, Jack, Tryg, and Oliver, and Chloe for foil. In tSB, even though I wanted to do more with Lynde, it turned out to belong more to Aunt Ruth, Uncle Bruce, Hayden, and Ava. With Tryg, of course, and Oliver as foil this time around. If I try to focus on everyone, it gets overwhelming, but if I let the smaller cast of characters, and a different one, take center stage each time, it becomes more manageable.

  2. Cath Says:

    I really like how, with Gwen, you manage to separate her from her family in a realistic way so that you can show bits and pieces of people in letters, which is far more manageable than having them running around in the scene all the time.

    I think for the BB series, it's going to be a question of paring back to characters that I feel have compelling story arcs. Not every character in the original of BBName has someplace to go, you know? I keep petering out when I try to think of plotlines for Walt, for Bess, for Avery.

    Also, I think that I need to find ways to get people out of the Glen. It's not realistic to expect that EVERY one of the Blythe, Ford, and Meredith children stay close to home. Rilla and Ken are in Toronto, Jerry and Nan in Nova Scotia, Carl and Di out West. But that still leaves Shirley, Bruce, Una, Rev. and Mrs. Meredith, Anne and Gilbert, and Jem and Faith and their kids in Glen St. Mary and that's still a lot to deal with.

    Will you guys critique an outline when I have it done? And if you have any ideas for characters you'd like to see more of, or characters you think I could drop, it would be appreciated.

  3. You can always do families traveling, if you need to get rid of some but you don't want them to move away. Rilla's health is uncertain - so Gilbert and Anne are spending a season there. Carl has to travel on business - so Una goes out west to keep Di company. One of the cousins/siblings gets an amazing chance to spend the year doing ... something far away.

    I would be more than happy to critique an outline for you when the time comes!

  4. I hit that problem with my stuff too. However, I don't entirely want to trim things down as much in having the family live too far away as compared to just focusing on certain characters more.

    I think about it in the manner that pre-WWII, a lot of families often lived in close proximity to each other (in today's sense, at least), because people often didn't get that far from home due to limited transportation and such. Also, I just believe that extended families were more tight knit than they often are now. Back then, it was often more the exception that one branch of a family lived a great distance away from the rest than everyone living far from the family matriarch/patriarch.

  5. That's true, and if you can make it work, it can be a very nice way to show the contrast in families then as compared to now - they were, in general, much more tight-knit, and I can imagine the Blythes would be especially close. Probably all get under each other's skin at times, if truth be told, but also loving and kind and fun.

  6. Cath Says:

    I think Adrienne has a point and that's why I love TTTT so much...because it has the feel of a big, rambunctious family. You are really good at balancing everybody, as narrowing and widening the focus as needed. I never noticed it until this problem cropped up in my own writing, but now I see how good at it you are!

    I think my solution is going to be to have Sally and Walt as Jem and Faith's kids...and to parcel Helen and Cam out to Nan and Rilla. Gilbert doesn't add much in my story, and I think it follows that moody Owen Ford's grandson might be temperamental, and likewise, Nan's Avery is sort of a throwaway. If Helen were Nan's other daughter, it would really be striking to compare her timidity with that of Claire.

    I'm also thinking of getting rid of Bess Golden. I know a lot of reviewers liked her, but she was getting a little too Story Girly, and I'm trying to keep everything a little bit less melodramatic in this story than in my others. Plus, I felt that Harry and Sally's friendship was one of the strongest, and that Bess was taking away from that.