Okay, this is a rant. Hey, I enjoy reading other people’s rants, so maybe some readers will be interested in my occasional ones here.
In the last two novels I read, each had three characters of the same sex with names that began with the same letter. I suspect these authors never joined a critique group, and wonder about their editors. I have done this in the past, so I understand how it can happen. But if they had editors, the editors should have caught this. The ones I’ve used have pointed out this problem to me a few times. Now I’m aware it can happen to me, so I do this:
I made a table in Word (or you can, of course use Excel or equivalent) and in headings I have: First Name, Last Name, Age, Car, and Description. Yeah, I put in car because for one novel I kept forgetting what each character drove, and they all seemed to be determined to do a lot of driving. This way you can sort the names by either first or last name and see if any duplicates for first letters appear.
One writer compounded this problem by having a father and son with the same letter for their first name (necessary for the plot), BUT she also had another character with that same letter, plus three more with a different same one. Yeah, I know this is awkward, but I’m sure you can figure it out.
Please find a method for yourself that will prevent this from happening. Your readers will thank you!
PS: You know you may have too many characters if you run out of letters.
And on top of that, if you’re some form of deaf, don’t name siblings with rhyming names!!
Ellen , who has to live with Kim and Tim!!
Good point, Ellen! Thanks for commenting.
Glad you included cars in the list, Jan. I read a book recently by a ‘famous’ author (I won’t name him here) in which the protagonist went to a site as a passenger in a car. But, when he left the site, it was in HIS vehicle. That one definitely should have been caught by an editor, if not by the writer.
That’s funny, John. The most common error I’ve seen of that type is that someone is either sitting down or standing, but a few paragraphs later he or she is doing the other. Without moving.