On Having Lots of Characters
1.) People that make a lot of characters make them only to play with each other.
I'm sure that's true in the cases of some players. However, it's fallacious to assume this is unique to players with lots of characters. It's not. This can be found in people who play only a couple characters, and I can't count the number of times I have had players join my games together--only to RP their one or two characters exclusively with each other, despite having other players offer up threads.
It's not exclusive to players with lots of characters. It's clique behavior, and this can be found...anywhere.
Personal anecdata: I wound up with the amount of characters I have because I didn't have enough to play with all the people I wanted to play with. I wound up making characters just so I could play with other players, and now as it stands...I pretty much have a character that could fit into any plot or situation. Lots of people on my games, where 7+ characters a player is pretty average, have that many characters for the same reason. I can look into their threads and see them playing with a wide range of people.
So like I said, while I'm sure this is true of some players...well, the same thing would happen if they only played a couple characters. The number of characters they play has no bearing on this. It's clique mentality, simple as that.
2.) I can only keep up with [X] characters. They can't possibly keep up with more!
That's not for you to decide. Different people are different. Imagine that! Just because you can only handle [X] amount of characters doesn't mean other people can't handle more.
Sure, people will always take on more than they can handle. But that doesn't still mean there aren't plenty who can handle their load just fine. It's for them to decide. Don't tell me I can't handle all my characters just because you couldn't.
3.) But when people play a lot of characters, they're all cookie-cutter and the same!
Nonsense. Again, that has nothing to do with quantity--if people are gonna create cookie-cutter characters, that'll happen anyway no matter how few they play. But plenty of people are capable of creating hundreds of characters that are all distinct and unique. I know a lot of them--and hope I'm one of them, too!
But it's totally possible to create thousands of characters and have them all be unique--remember, there are 6 billion + people in the world, each with different personalities and experiences and stories.
Anyway, the fact is, some people only have a couple characters in their head--and that's fine! There's nothing wrong with that at all, and it doesn't make you a bad RPer or writer. It's just a preference. Other people, like myself, have hundreds of characters in their head. That's also fine! I'm in that category, and have to seriously limit myself to the characters I actually join because new characters are always springing into existence.
4.) But if you have a lot of characters, you can't give them all the same level of depth, attention, and development.
Maybe you couldn't, but others can. Remember, it's a YMMV thing. Everyone is different. Don't list these things as absolutes just because you don't think anyone could do it. As someone who plays a lot of characters, I certainly try and give them all their share of development, depth, and attention. Plenty of people can do this--plenty of authors do it.
In my case, there are, of course, some characters I focus on more than others and some characters that are more secondary. But why does that matter? It's sort of like writing a book, in a sense--some of my characters are there more as plot devices than as main characters. That is also okay. Not all RPers view every character they play as something they must play and cherish 'til the end of time. Some characters in RP, just like in books, are a means to an end.
Anyway, I guess the main point of this is...remember, everyone's different, and just because you heard from someone who heard from someone that people did one of the above...it doesn't make it universal or even wide-spread.