1. Mr Mr
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    Mr Mr Active Member

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    Is using a characters name neccesary?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Mr Mr, Jun 21, 2011.

    “Ouch!” Silvia dropped the torch for the second time in 5 minutes.

    The boy started patting the floor “Shh, where’d the torch go now?”.

    “Don’t worry I’ve got it, it landed on my foot.” The torch flickered back into life, illuminating the dusty attic. She panned around the room the light creeping into every corner chasing way the shadows. As the light moved away from a spot the shadows would rush back out to guard their secrets.
    “So what happens if the box is really here?” She continued to scan the room with the torch.

    “Then we get the others and follow the map.” She sighed.

    “And if the map leads to a dead end?” The boy thought for a second before answering.

    “Then we leave it and go home” They started searching again, a task made harder by the lack of light. After a good fruitless 10 minutes of searching Silvia started panning the room out of boredom. The torch swept the room lighting up the boxes...and then

    A twinkle

    “Sol!” She tapped whispered tapping his back

    “What is it?” She shone the torch back over to the twinkle.

    “I think we’ve found it.” They hurried over to where the twinkle was coming from, tripping over boxes. It was buried under a load of boxes. Sol pulled it free. It was a small ornate chest, solidly built, its edges trimmed with silver a large lock barring the way in. It looked out of place next to all the cardboard and plastic.

    “How do we open it?” Silvia pondered.

    “Like this.” The boy said pulling out a key his grandfather had left him before he disappeared. He could remember everything he said now,it all came drifting back.
    _________________
    This is an extract from a story I'm writing. Although I've named the boy character I've refered to him as "He" and "The boy". Question is, does it work? Does it flow alright?
    And could you critique the rest of it while your here :)
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If we already know his name, then calling him "the boy" over and over becomes a bit egregious. But if we don't know his name yet - for some reason it hasn't been revealed - then I think it's perfectly justified to refer to him as "the boy".
     
  3. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    Always name your characters. The only exception are those that are just background and do not interact with your other characters. Not naming your characters is a hackneyed cliché that's been done to death.
     
  4. Mr Mr
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    Mr Mr Active Member

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    No I think you've missunderstood slightly. I'm asking whether when I refer to him if using "The boy" or "him" is ok, like in the extract, even though you know his name.
     
  5. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    "The boy" is not OK. Using him and her is since there's only the two of them and the reader can easily distinguish between them. If not, use their names.

    It's like asking if you should use "said" in dialogues. The answer is yes, unless it's easy to tell who is saying what. If not, use "said" and use their names.
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Of course, naming your characters has been done vastly more often than not naming them... :D
     
  7. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    True, but naming your characters makes understanding easier. That's why you do it.
     
  8. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    It IS okay to refer to him as the boy or him even if we know his name, particularly if your POV character (or just the other character) thinks of him as "the boy" even though it's not his name. I don't see a problem with it unless you have a room full of boys.....

    To clarify though, it needs to always be clear who is speaking and there are some muddy places in that dialogue.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    It was a joke. Thus, the smiley face.
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If the reader already knows his name, then you should call him by his name whenever it's necessary to clarify who is speaking or acting. If you have to refer to him a lot in a short space, it might become monotonous to keep repeating his name, so the occasional "the boy" is permissible, especially if you want, for whatever reason, to emphasize his youth at that point. But I think it's generally better to stick with his name.

    But if the reader does not already know his name (he might be the lost prince the heroine has been searching for, but she doesn't know his real identity yet - it will be revealed in a later scene), then you can refer to him as "the boy". Hey, you have to call him SOMETHING, after all.

    :)
     
  11. Mr Mr
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    Mr Mr Active Member

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    Trish
    Which bits in the extract are muddy?
     
  12. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    This is fine. Sylvia, then Sol.

    This appears to all be Sylvia, yes?

    Then she seems to answer her own question as evidenced by her sigh directly after dialogue.

    Then Sol appears to ponder answering his own question or Sylvia just really likes to talk.


    Then we have no idea who answers this because everything is so confusing above, but now at least you get back on track.

    _________________
    This is an extract from a story I'm writing. Although I've named the boy character I've refered to him as "He" and "The boy". Question is, does it work? Does it flow alright?
    And could you critique the rest of it while your here :)[/QUOTE]


    EDIT: Actually, we don't really know who says the sentence before she shines the light. Sorry.
     

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