aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Naming names - please don't double up

I think Caroline B. Cooney writes great thrillers. I'm reading Wanted! to my kid now. (Full disclosure: Look at the cover? Doesn't the main character look like she is wearing a burqua?) The main character, Alice, meets a boy while she is on the run. His name is Paul. He is present for five or six pages, and serves the purpose of helping her find a place to spend the night (with one of his friends.) The next morning, Alice realizes her entire high school is out hunting her. Including someone named Paul Chem. Who is a different Paul. At least that's what we think, after turning the pages back and forth.

I know lots of folks named Nancy. Three are pretty good friends. So we all know that it's not uncommon for people to share a name. (Full disclosure: I like that there aren't many Aprils.) But don't ever give your characters the same name. It just confuses the heck out of your reader.

In fact, don't give main characters the same first initial. When I read Hearts and Bones , I got all the male characters confused: Jeremy, James, John, Jake, Jebediah, whatever - there were three or four main guys whose names started with J. I didn't realize until I was halfway through the book that in my head I had combined two characters into one.

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Tags: two people with the same name
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