So today I want to talk about dealing with a massive cast of character. I am talking about main and secondary characters (not the odd village baker passing through a random scene never to be heard from again). If you're not sure what I mean by a large cast of characters, think Lord of the Rings. As well as the main cast of the Fellowship, there were also additional characters that came in and hung around for a while. They were fleshed out and with their own thread in the plot.
Characters are the life breath of your novel so you need to create strong, realistic, memorable characters. You want your readers to connect with them, to cheer for them, to grieve with them...to do that, you need to make realistic, memorable characters.