advice

Tips from the Editor

Mack and Mark and Mike and Matt
The Guy She Likes Is… Which One?

You’ve found the right names for your main characters. That’s Job One out of the way—but it’s just as important to choose the right names for your supporting cast.

If a character doesn’t appear very much, don’t worry about picking a name that will endure through the ages. But do worry about setting that character apart from the people who surround him or her. Readers will grow frustrated at having to remember who’s who if the names are too similar: Matt, Mark, Mike, Matt…

You don’t want your minor characters to be more interesting than your “stars.” But when Mike walks into the lunchroom to find Kelly nuking her leftovers, if your readers remember that Kelly’s the one who encouraged him to ask Michelle out, that bond will help drive the scene.

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