1. Braska
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    Braska Member

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    Awkward Question !

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Braska, Aug 25, 2009.

    The question is: is it normal not giving a name to one of the main characters? For example, am working on a novel now, and one of the main characters is referred to as “the director”, I never gave him a name. So is it normal or does it feel awkward?
     
  2. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    I have had entire stories finished before I settled on a name for the MC. In some cases he has been referred to as "Char A" or something similar. I see no reason why "the director" couldn't work.
     
  3. Braska
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    Braska Member

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    I see, am relieved to hear that :-D, I was beginning to think that it might be awkward, but now you saved my day.
    Thank you Rumpole40k
     
  4. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    Technically, "the director" would be a name. It would perform the same function as a proper name. So I wouldn't think there would be a problem.
     
  5. Braska
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    Braska Member

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    i see, thanks FMK :-D
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ever read H. G. Wells' The Time Traveller? The main character is never given a name.
     
  7. Braska
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    Braska Member

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    No I haven’t read that one, but I know what you mean, I played a game on Ps2 called the shadow of colossus, the main character was referred to as "the wanderer" without giving him a name.
    Thank you for your post Cogito :-D
     
  8. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Fight Club is also like that, the MC doesn't have a name, but his alternate personality does. Sometimes an MC doesn't have to have a name for the read to relate to them.
     
  9. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Main characters' names? The boy and the man :p
    It was enjoyed by many, but disliked by me...
    Nevertheless, it worked for him. Go for it :)
     
  10. Vagabond284
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    Vagabond284 Member

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    As long as you keep it consistent throughout the entire storyline, there is no problem without naming the main character. The key is keeping the interest of your reader so that they don't mind.
     
  11. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    As long as you aren't just refering to the character as "him" it's fine. That drives me crazy. Others have given good examples. In Memoirs of a Geisha, they do mention the Chairman's name maybe once, but every other time, he's refered to as "the Chairman." In the movie, I don't remember if his name comes up at all. I also once read a first-person novel where they say the narrator's name until more than halfway through it. I hardly noticed.
     
  12. Birdie
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    Birdie New Member

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    One of the stories I just finished has no names at all. The protagonist and antagonist don't even have implied genders. It's perfectly fine not to have a name.

    I find when I can't think of a name for a character while I'm writing, I just give them a symbol that stands for their name till I can think of something else. That way, I can use my writing program to search for that symbol (say, for example: %) and replace it with the found name.
     
  13. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    Its fine not to name an mc, especially if it isn't really needed so calling someone the director will work, as others have pointed out there are numerous novels and films out there where the names are never revealed, and there is no need to
     
  14. Braska
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    Braska Member

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    Thanks Guys, that really helped :-D
     
  15. Hwkngrl412
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    Hwkngrl412 New Member

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    I've read entire books without being introduced to physical details or names of main characters, and it isn't awkward at all. It introduces mystery to the character, of course, which you can manipulate as you see fit, but it also, in a way, makes it easier to relate to this character, because there are no concrete boundaries telling us we can't, if that makes sense. Totally go for it!
     
  16. Braska
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    Braska Member

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    The "director" is the only nameless character in my novel, so he will be the blurry character in my novel. and as you said this will add some mystery to the novel.
    thank you for your post, it really helped :-D
     
  17. Doreen Cusack
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    Doreen Cusack New Member

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    I love Fight Club. There was a good reason for the unreliable narrator to remain nameless.

    Calling your main character "The Director" will probably make him a bit distant.

    Oh, but I like it. :)
     
  18. Braska
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    Braska Member

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    I guess you are right, but he is not the main character, he only plays a significant role in some of the chapters. So I think that I will refer to him as the”Director”
    Thanks for the help :-D
     
  19. ManhattanMss
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    Good question. I'd say that there should be a significance to the absence of a name (or that, at least, the reader will attach a significance or expect to find one in the story itself). There was a short story in last years BASS where the main character was not given a name (whereas others were). It was done very subtly; and once I discovered I didn't know the man's name (and there was a clue that this was done purposefully), I thought it was designed to enhance the insignificance of that particular character's identity, confused as it was with that of another character in the story.

    I can't help but think the reader will attach some significance to the omission of a main character's name, and so it's a great opportunity for the writer to use that significance somehow in the story itself. Someone mentioned THE ROAD, where the absence of names underscores the absence of anything familiar, I think.

    You just don't want it to be seen as an oversight, so it all depends on how you write your story and what it's meant to convey. You could either explain it somehow by giving a reason why this character was known to everyone as simply "The Director"; or permit it to underscore some (other) thematic quality you intend to convey in your story. Or use it for other literary reasons. But IMO you should have a reason for doing it this way (so that it contribues whatever mystique you hope to convey).
     
  20. Snap
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    Agreed. John Steinbeck did this in Of Mice and Men with Charlie's Wife--she was only referred to as Charlie's wife. If you DON'T associate a significance with the absence of the name, the readers will, and the significance they attach might be something you didn't intend at all. It's better to have control over that kind of thing. It could also add more depth to your novel.
     
  21. Cyrano
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    In Kill Bill, you don't learn The Bride's name until late in the series, and that played out quite well. But that kind of helped personify the character. Is there a reason why you would have him not have a name?
     

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