Sometimes I wonder why I have so many characters in some of my books. Most of my YA fantasies have this problem. The problem is that I like gangs. When I was a kid in the dark ages, I belonged to, maybe not a gang, but there were fourteen boys and two girls on the street where I loved. This may be one of the reasons for the mega casts in these fantasies. While many people write with many characters in their stories the Henge series and also the Jewels of Earda series grew their characters and everyone wanted a say.
When I began the Jewels stories, there were really only to be four main characters but then there were things that needed to be said or learned by the reader that the four main characters didn't know. Thus another character had to have a viewpoint. Never again I told myself. In the Jewels series I think there are finally a total of twelve characters who have a say. Never again I told myself.
Then I began the Henge Betrayed series and needed five viewpoint characters. I thought I could handle this and so I did. The second book began and suddenly I needed a sixth viewpoint. That one crept in. Not so bad. Book 3 was begun and suddenly a seventh character raised her head and screamed, let me in. There are things I have to say and things the readers will need to know before the series ends. No one else can do this. I am now on the fourth and final book of the series and there are nine viewpoint characters. I managed to head several -- somewhere between three and five others who thought they could add to the story. Several of these were removed because some of my characters can read the winds and thus hear the voices of other characters.
Will I ever do this again. I can't promise that since there are several ideas rolling around in my head that might mean another book, not with casts of thousands but probably more than I can imagine at this time.
How about you? Do you find characters creeping into your story and refusing to leave?