Character Name Consistency
A book I edited had a main character with a name of, say, Paul Charleston, who was a vice president of marketing. Within the first fifty pages, the author had referred to this one character by:
the vice president
…and probably ten others that I haven’t remembered. Every time the author used a new name, I thought it was a new character! And I was keeping track of all these “new” characters on a style sheet – imagine how confused a simple reader would have been. In addition, should the author have decided midway to change this character’s name, it would have been impossible to change them all with a simple Find/Replace operation. The risk of missing one – or more than one – was very high.
How do you balance name and character familiarity and possible redundancy against poetic license?