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Attention All Authors:
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Attention all authors: if you're going to write a 600 page novel, with a zillion characters, then you damn sight better provide us readers with a list of characters. [Tolstoy, wherever you are, listen up!]

Especially if you're going to create names that are exotic, with hyphenated last names and unusual consonant clusters.

And above all a cast of characters if you're going to refer to each character by multiple changing appellations depending on circumstance, appearance and relationship to other characters. Or whether they're speaking the language of politics or the language of war.

A map is good. A list of place names and honorifics is helpful. But a comprehensive roster of characters is a must.

I'm reading Sherwood Smith's Inda. Just because her last name is a very commonplace Smith, does not mean that she has to create impossible to memorize names in order to compensate. The character names are as exotic as some of Cherryh's and just as off-putting.

I'm on page 53 and I'm lost. I put the book down for a day and now I'm desperately trying to remember who Ndara-Harandviar is. What happens if I have a hiatus of two or three days? I have this horrible feeling that I'm going to have to start back at Chapter One and use a clipboard and tablet of paper to make a name list.


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