The other day, I was thinking about how much trouble I was having with introducing an ensemble. All of that business of whether they should begin the story at their full capacity (as I had planned it, anyway) or if it was better to begin before full formation–either all the way to the very first person or with a small percentage of the full group.
Then I started thinking about my current novel and how I worked out the ensemble in there.
It’s all very unplanned. I began with two characters and then took one of them out of the picture and replaced him. Then I introduced one guy as a possible team member–and he did not join. This happened again, and then another character came in from an unexpected source. Later, someone else joined them for reasons no one else would have, and I expect one of the previously introduced characters will return and join them after all.
Talking about it this vaguely might ruin my point and be hard to follow, but I don’t want to bore anyone with such a strange, tedious summary in full, with all of the names and events intact. I also want to keep from writing too much about the actual story. Not for some lame paranoid copyright reason, but because if I over-think this, my writing brain will shift to analysis mode.
Anyway, the observation I made was that while I had been struggling with planning, I had lost sight of this very natural, organic, evolution of an ensemble cast. And I made myself feel silly for getting stuck on only two methods.
Hopefully, this just means I can take my formed casts and tack a list to the wall next to my computer, and just glance over at it whenever I reach a natural character entrance in my writing.