Revealing Names

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  1. #1
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    Default Revealing Names

    How do you show a character's name? The most common method is probably by getting another character to talk to them, or by having them introduce themselves to someone else.

    But in what I'm currently writing, I've been trying to keep the narrator's name a secret for as long as I can. Has anyone else around here tried this, and if so, how did you finally reveal it?
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    Default Re: Revealing Names

    That's always an awkward moment for me too, but the talking's usually the method I go with even though it feels weak.

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    remember me jda95's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Revealing Names

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyradox View Post
    I've been trying to keep the narrator's name a secret for as long as I can.
    Be very careful with this, as it's difficult to pull off without making it sound extremely awkward. Take a look at Final Fantasy X - you as you can name the protagonist, Tidus yourself, yet the game has full voice acting. The characters go out of their way to avoid saying his name, which is occasionally extremely awkward when they refer to him as "you" and other variants all the time. Just make sure it's always natural.

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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Revealing Names

    For main characters, I sort of just introduce them right off and call them by name in the narration. For other characters, I usually do it via dialog.

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    Let's get funky! Gama's Avatar Former Head Administrator
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    Default Re: Revealing Names

    I find hiding someone's name for a long time, and not giving them a name by which you can refer to them is really awkward.

    As jda said, when they do this in FFX it's really weird.

    If it's important for your plot that their real name isn't revealed, my suggestion would be to give them a pseudonym. If needs be, you can make it clear that it's a pseudonym even.

    If it's a twist in the story where the narrator turns out to be one of the main characters, you could make it so that that character is given a pseudonym or nickname later in the story, and that's the name that the narrator goes by, but the character goes by their real name for the duration of the story.
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    Default Re: Revealing Names

    Narrator... I'm not sure. Hiding his name isn't as awkward as hiding a character's name (unless its a story written in the first person and that is the character, who other characters need to address) so you might be able to pull it off. I'm not sure how you'd go about introducing him though.

    For other charcters, here's what I've done:
    - the main character - Just say what his name is right off the bat (well, someone could easily address him, but in my story there was no need to)
    - the main character's friend / someone that he knows who wouldn't need an introduction through dialogue - Just say what his name is as well, no need for any dialogue (although the main character calling him by name wouldn't be hard to add, considering they already know each other)
    - any character not known by a main character... I use dialogue. I've done this three ways in my story. The simplest way is to just have the person start talking and be like "My name is ____." The second way is to have a stranger address him, for example, I had one character performing and a person in the crowd cheering him on yelled out his name. The last way is for the name to just be assumed, for example, one of the characters meets a stranger behind the scenes and when the main character meets up with that one character then he tells the main character the new guy's name.
    - I suppose you could also get creative with this, like maybe have someone run into a psychic or something and the psychic automatically knows his name. This would be hard to do unless there's a reason for a random pyscich to be giving a reading though
    - The last way I can think of is to have the new character have a reputation, like the main character has seen him on TV or read about him and already knows who he is without him introducing himself. And there's probably other ways too.
    Last edited by Xenidal; 16th April 2012 at 10:29 AM.

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    Default Re: Revealing Names

    There's a Pokémon fic on FF.net called Pedestal, by Digital Skitty, that manages to keep the narrator's name a secret until literally the last two words of the story. It was seamless enough that I didn't even know that I hadn't been given the narrator's name until about the 50th chapter (out of over 160) when I decided to write a review and realized I didn't know what to call the protagonist.

    It's also an awesome fic by itself, so read it and get your ideas.
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    Let's get funky! Gama's Avatar Former Head Administrator
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    Default Re: Revealing Names

    Quote Originally Posted by Smuglord View Post
    There's a Pokémon fic on FF.net called Pedestal, by Digital Skitty, that manages to keep the narrator's name a secret until literally the last two words of the story. It was seamless enough that I didn't even know that I hadn't been given the narrator's name until about the 50th chapter (out of over 160) when I decided to write a review and realized I didn't know what to call the protagonist.

    It's also an awesome fic by itself, so read it and get your ideas.
    Actually, now that you mention it, I've seen this done well a number of times. Fight Club, the book, does it very effectively off the top of my head.

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    Default Re: Revealing Names

    Kill Bill manages it too, though they have to bleep it out once or twice, which is a little bit grating. Not that I think you're likely to, but I'd avoid obvious censoring like the plague, unless you plan to use it for that particular effect like Tarantino did.
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    Default Re: Revealing Names

    I actually did this for the first chapter of my new story - I didn't reveal the characters name until the end of the chapter. I revealed it by the character's starter pokemon - the only character who did not know the unnamed charactrers name, asking his partner what his name was.

    I write in the first person, so depending on if it's first person omniscient or not, I reveal the characters name by having another character speak with them.
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