I'm winding up revision of my second book in the Post Cold War thriller trilogy, The Poksu Conspiracy. As you might guess from the name, most of the action takes place in Korea, both South and North. The time is fall and early winter of 1993, when the world was trying to sort out the effects of the Cold War's demise. The U.S. economy was in the doldrums following the first Gulf War. South Korea continued to make significant progress in the export markets while its political leadership remained in the hands of the generals. Unification with the North and a lessening of foreign (read U.S.) influence was the rallying cry.
The Poksu Conspiracy is an adventurous tale of what might have happened based on historical events and past actions of American leaders. Early in the story, an audacious plot results in the deaths of North Korean Dictator Kim Il Sung, his son and heir apparent, and much of the communist leadership. Had that part of the story been true, the world would be a lot better off. But I digress.
The book could be called half thriller and half Korean police procedural. One of the main characters is Homicide Detective Yun Yu-sop with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Bureau. The story follows his efforts to solve a series of murders he believes are an attempt to silence leading voices who favor continued Korean-U.S. cooperation.
The story is quite complex, making the book a long one, running 160,000 words. Since much of it takes place in Korea, many of the characters have Korean names. And there are lots of them. As a result, it will likely be difficult for readers to keep up with everybody. Why don't you cut some of them out, my wife asked? Well, they all play a significant role in the story.
I went though the manuscript and counted 74 named characters, and that doesn't include a couple who are named only as murder victims. I decided to make a Cast of Characters, which would name only those who appear in more than one chapter. I figure those who appear in no more than a couple of contiguous scenes shouldn't be a problem. That cut the total down to 48.
Now I'm left with the decision of how to list the characters. Should it be done as in a theatrical playlist, naming the characters as they appear in the story? Or should I simply put them in alphabetical order? Your comments would be greatly appreciated.