Jack Campbell http://johnghemry.com/ A science fiction writer of five series, (I recommend the Lost Fleet, Beyond the Frontier, and the Lost Stars series) Jack Campbell names characters only if they are important–so the admiral gives the order to the “watchstander” instead of naming him Ensign Henri Olson. Over 13 novels, being given fewer names to keep track of is a real blessing. (Think David Weber and the Honor series for the opposite).
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. www.suzannecollinsbooks.com When I finished the series, I wondered how she had kept so many characters clear in my mind, so I went back and counted, 26 including a dead father in the first book. This is the average character count for a novel, so how come it felt like so many more were in there? “Mob references” were used throughout the series, “people from the seam,” “no one from District 12,” “I had heard that in District 4”, “people in the Capital”, etc. Then she gave the same characters several references, the tributes from District One, their names, and the nicknames they had acquired. These techniques helped make the book feel much more densely populated than it was. Great for portraying a war.
What techniques do you use to handle your crowds? Let us know.