1. Nicolle Evans
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    Nicolle Evans Member

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    Introducing a character's name (third person)

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Nicolle Evans, May 3, 2016.

    For example:

    It's chapter one and you've just met this character

    Do you use their name from the start so like: Adam went here, then he went there.

    Or do you say: He went here, then he went there.

    And if you choose the second, how do you introduce the name? Another character speaking? Just drop it in there?

    Benefits/Cons of both of these methods?
     
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  2. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I usually in the first sentence that they are supposed to be known. Like; "Adam Lichtfield went here, then he went there." Although, if that isn't more or less immediately, I would probably have them tell someone their name. Especially since I would probably do that because their name is plot-relevant or they are secretive for whatever reason.
     
  3. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'd say avoid creating secrets that don't need to be kept. If there is some story reason why the reader shouldn't know a character's name from the outset, then the he/she thing would be okay to use. But there's sometimes an impulse in newer writers to want to 'intrigue' a reader with stuff that's actually very commonplace. Unless there is a solid reason why your reader shouldn't know the character's name, just spit it out.

    I've seen things like: 'A woman appeared at my bedroom door, carrying a laundry basket.' Which is fine, if the POV character doesn't know her and is wondering who she is. However, if this is the POV character's mother and the character's mental state is normal, just say: 'My mother appeared at my bedroom door, carrying a laundry basket.'
     
  4. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    I usually use the character's name in the first sentence. There are certainly instances where keeping the character's name from the audience may be needed (POV character doesn't know this person's name, you're keeping the POV character's identity secret for a story reason, etc.) but going with that option when you don't need it feels sort of...cheap.

    As for getting a name across, I'd do that through conversation or thought.
     
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  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I name the character in the first sentence in which they're mentioned, generally. I'll go along with the author withholding that name for a period of time if they have a good reason to, but if not I find it irritating when they can't just give me the name.
     
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