I’m stockpiling my e-reader for a long international trip. A lot of my purchases are old mysteries and some lovely old romances like Georgette Heyer. And of course, I can’t resist dipping into them when I have a few minutes to spare. (Right now, that means while in shopping lines or waiting rooms because my workload has tripled trying to meet deadlines and do Christmas shopping before we leave!)
What I’m discovering is that readers in days of yore apparently did not mind multiple point-of-views and a staggering array of characters. This, of course, intrigues me because I’m having a serious crisis of doubt over the books I’m writing—all of which have a large cast of characters whose stories will continue from one book to the next.
I’m aware that a number of romance authors are currently writing small town series with multiple characters who do cameos in later books (Anne Gracie, I’m looking at you!). But with my dreadful memory, I may vaguely remember the names or occupations but will remember utterly nothing about the character’s story. Fantasies like George R.R. Martin’s GAME OF THRONES use an army of minor characters—I have no idea how anyone keeps up with them either.
Oh yeah, and then there are those doorstopper books I wrote in the 80’s—I’m reissuing some of them this week in a series called Dark Lords and Dangerous Ladies. How did I ever remember all those characters while writing 150,000 words? While editing this time around, I had to add full names, titles, and descriptions just to remind me of who they were from one chapter to the next! But I remember readers loving all the extra characters, so maybe it’s just me.
Do you recall characters from one book to the next? Or even in the same book? I just read a mystery with a dozen suspects (shades of Agatha Christie!) and finally gave up because I couldn’t remember whose story was what. Is there a secret to remembering which character goes with what name?
Or do you just not care as long as the story grips you and keeps you reading?