Some of favorite movies focus not on a single hero, but an ensemble of characters whose lives and stories intertwine. It’s usually easy to follow as the camera moves from one person to another and we get to see which characters are related to each other.
In a literary work, it’s harder to do this successfully. With too many POV characters, readers can get confused or bored. Too many named characters are frustrating to keep track of.
When I first started writing the polyamorous romance stories on Kingdom Come, it was soon clear that trying to give all eight(ish) characters equal time in the story was just overwhelming. For later stories, I focused on just a few characters and either wrote separate stories for the others, or I delegated them to being secondary characters.
But I’d really love to tell these stories as a true ensemble. I’m just not sure I could do it justice. This year for NaNoWriMo I’m returning to Kingdom Come with Coward of the County. Yes, I love the song by Kenny Rogers, but this story bears little resemblance to the ballad of Tommy and Becky.
I’m about 2k in now, and I think I’ve settled on four POV characters. The arranged marriage is eight, and I’m hoping that it comes across that all of them are important even though I focus more on just a few.
I found a great image for the novel on Canva.com. It evokes the loneliness my MC feels, and definitely resembles the scenery in the story. What it doesn’t show, though, are the other seven entangled in the romance.
I’m not worried about the cover. It’s just a mock-up. I am worried about how to make this story flow with a true ensemble cast, instead of feeling like just one man with a set of throwaway background characters.
Wish me luck.