I have my six main characters in my first chapter. Needless to say, it's getting confusing (not in my mind, but perhaps the reader). I have to have all these six in the first chapter. Any tricks of the trade? I do have a listing of the six in the beginning of the book. (The list makes sense, it's not merely a list of characters.)

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As long as you stick to one person's pov, I don't think it would be difficult to do. I've got five characters interacting in the first chapter of one of mine, and it wasn't confusing.
I think you're right, Jon. Too much detail one after another is a killer. I may be committing this crime. I guess I have to plow forward and then see what I have.
Yes, at a special event. I have a feeling that I just need to keep writing it out and see what happens.
You can't avoid this, but if your title gets released as an audiobook, multiple characters introduced together can get confusing. Maybe because when someone actually READS a book, they see the character name and the visual gets burned into memory. "Just" hearing a name, especially if one hears many in a short time, means some won't stick. Kind of like meeting 10 people at a cocktail party. An hour later, you'll still remember things about each one, but may not be able to put accurate names to each person. (Or maybe that depends on what you were drinking.)

Well, an obvious point is to keep all six names distinct and in some way memorable. The other point would be to individualize the characters.
When you are done, you may try a reader reaction.
I think that the reader reaction will be key. My six characters are all Japanese American women of the same age and you know how confusing Japanese surnames can be for the average American reader! Ai-ya! At least I can mix it up with nicknames and western first names.
Oh, yes. I know. And this affects sales! That's why books about Americans sell better. Lord, even the British write novels about Americans.
Well, this book is about Americans, but Asian Americans (as opposed to European Americans, etc.).
It's a mystery to me as a reader sometimes how one writer's six characters will be impossible to sort out even when I've followed them through a whole novel, and another's will be memorable and impossible to confuse. One way I do it as a writer is with dialogue, making sure they don't all sound alike but each has a distinctive voice. Another is weaving the description into the action rather than giving a static resume when you introduce the character. Hmm, let's see if I can make up an example off the top of my head: "Jane whirled on her stiletto heels, blonde hair whipping about her face as she stabbed the air an inch from Bobby's nose with a red-lacquered forefinger as sharp as a bear's claw" (heaven knows where that came from--I don't write like that!) vs. "Jane, a 35-year-old blonde woman wearing red nail polish, an Armani suit, and Ferragamo shoes, answered Bobby angrily." Liz
LOL! Now I have this image in my head of Jane tumbling over backward after whirling on her stiletto heels.
I think if you keep individual POV's for each scene you should be fine. If you keep one POV in the first chapter it would probably be less confusing, but you run the risk of setting the reader's expectations that that person is the protagonist, which isn't necessarily the case.
I'm in agreement on the individual POV each scene thing. The book I'm currently working on has an ensemble cast and each chapter is from a different POV. However, I'm just about to write a chapter where all the characters come together for the first time, and I'm wondering how the hell to do it! I'm spending a lot of time pondering the various ways, and not much time actually writing :o)

UglyTown books have a great little cast list at the beginning of each of their books which is funny as well as informative. Damn, I miss UglyTown.


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