How many is too many?

Hi, im sorry, again, I don’t mean to bother any of you but I have a question that has been really getting in the way of the writing process that I need an answer to.

From one writer to another, in total, how many characters can you have, should you have, need to have? I have too many but I want to use some of them but I don’t know a good amount to start with? Mc’s and supporting, I just have too much h e l pppp😣


You can have as much characters as you want! You can have some of them be introduced in the future, some from the past etc.


I like to start with a group of MC’S and supporting first, and then incorporate more into the story later. If you introduce them all at once, the reader might get a little overwhelmed and forget their names and backstory.
I just introduce them when they are relevant to the plot rather than introduce them only to not use them for a couple episodes.
It really doesn’t matter how many character you have, it more the pace you include them at.


Ohhh okay! Yeah, cuz, I have um…
…a lot… I’m happy with all their looks and personalities, characters arcs, but I don’t know what to do since I have a group of antagonists, and a group of protagonists… How can I mke it to where they aren’t all introduced in the beginning but still have them be included in the cast? It’s a highschool themed, drama, thriller, crime related stuff like that. I haven’t decided yet, I’m still planning how I want it to go.

Here’s one group:
(Some ant, some pro)
Ally - ex-bff of Elise, girlfriend of Parker

Nia - bff of Ally, has a crush on Peter.

(Might use, might not havent decided) Macy - bff of Ally and Nia, has an obsessive crush on Jordan.

Peter - bff of Mike, Alias, and Jordan (later introduced at a club, hooking up with Sage), boyfriend of Ally, ex-bf of Elise and/or April

Mike - bff of Peter and Alias
Alias - bff of Peter and Mike
Sage (female, ex-bff or secret bff/crush of Hollis, hookup buddies(introduced later at a club)

2nd group:
Elise - The MAIN MAIN, best friend of Ashley, Hollis, April, ex-bff of Mark.

Mark - THE MAIN MAIN, best friend of Noah, Wren, and Lucas, ex-bff of Elise (enemies to lovers type stuff)

Noah - THE MAIN MAIN, best friend of Mark, Wren and Lucas, ex-bf of Ashley.

Ashley - MAIN MAIN, best friend of Elise, Hollis, and April, ex-gf of Noah

Wren - best friend of Mark, Noah, and Lucas

Hollis- MAIN MAIN, best friend of Elise, Ashley, and April

April - MAIN MAIN, best friend of Elise, Ashley, and Hollis, girlfriend of Lucas

Lucas - best friend of Mark, Noah, and Wren, boyfriend of April.


I suggest alternating antagoists and protagonists.
For instance, introduce Elise and her bestfriends and their dynamic first.
Then introduce Mark and his relationship with Elise.
Then introduce some of the antagonists.
Show Mike, Alias and Jordan interacting together without Peter
Show Ally and Nia’s relationship,
Then Peter, and Sage at the club
Then introduce April and her boyfriend
And so on and so on

Just make sure you show most of the relationships, instead of telling the readers, “This is that persons ex” in narration.
Another suggestion is using flashbacks to introduce characters. Like instead of telling us Noah and Ashely broke up in present time, flashback to when they broke up and show how the breakup effected them/their friend group. This way it will make the reader believe there’s more history between them.
Not sure if this makes much sense, this is more of an example.


No it makes perfect sense! I have a betted understanding of what to do now, man I feel stupid. Lol. You explained that perfectly. Theres not many people I know that are willing to help or give advice for what I’m struggling with, so i really appreciate it❤


I don’t think there’s an exact number you should have, but they should all serve a purpose. How do they support or challenge the MC? What interesting perspective do they make the reader think about? If the character doesn’t meaningfully contribute to the story, it’s probably best to put them in the background or cut them entirely.


Right, I agree. Could you give some examples of those characters, how those characters could meaningfully contribute to the mains? :slight_smile:

Ask yourself this…if I take out the character, will that impact the story? Are they really necessary? Are they 3 dimensional?


It’s difficult for me to give specific examples not knowing specific plot details or character personalities. For the thriller/crime aspect, your characters could represent different sides of a moral dilemma. Maybe one character thinks the MC should stay out of the situation and another character thinks the MC should investigate. If the MC knows a secret, maybe one character thinks the MC should tell the authorities and another thinks the MC should stay quiet. As for the high school aspect, maybe one character encourages the MC to have fun and make the most of their youth while another thinks the MC should plan for the future and focus on preparing for college.

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I agree with the others on this one.
It depends on the plot too.

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Honestly, almost all of my books have like 15 to 25 characters in them. In my opinion the more complex it is the better.