1. NRG
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    NRG Senior Member

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    Nameless?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by NRG, Mar 4, 2011.

    Hey, WF!

    So I'm writing a story which is based around war, and the rights and wrongs in it, as well as a strong plot twist. But what it's about, doesn't matter.

    Because of the emotion I want readers to get out of it, I've decided to write it in a present first person style, for example,

    "I'm walking to the fridge." Obviously, it's a bit more exciting than that. :D

    Anyway, I've just realised, that I haven't mentioned the main character's name yet, and I'm thinking, should I perhaps keep it this way?

    On one hand, it might allow readers to put themselves in his shoes, but on the other, they might feel it's less personal, and therefore wont relate to him as much.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    It worked in Fight Club. But write the first draft like that and see how it goes. If you feel it doesn't work after all, change it when you go through it a second time. It all depends on your writing skills after all.
     
  3. NRG
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    NRG Senior Member

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    Well, I'm still writing it now, and it feels right to not mention his name. I mean, it's almost like his personal diary which he's constantly writing as everything happens. It's like a diary in the present, so I don't see why he would mention his own name. :D

    Thanks for the help.
     
  4. Tesgah
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    Tesgah Member

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    There are readers who like to picture themselves as the main character, and there are readers who prefer to read about other people. Not mentioning his name might suit the first, while mentioning his name will suit the latter group. But to be honest, it really boils down to how you want the story to feel. Perhaps he's meant to be the Nameless One? The only problem I see is that it will be difficult not to have his name mentioned in some dialouge throughout the story. Other characters will probably say his name at some point?
     
  5. NRG
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    NRG Senior Member

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    Well, yes that's the main problem I can see coming, but this isn't a novel length story, and it's not heavy dialogue. As well as this, there's a second protagonist, who isn't as big a character, but will share the book with the main character, so there wont be too much dialogue with the main character.

    I'm gonna go with no name for now, and if I run into any trouble, I'll go back and change it. :D

    Thanks again!
     
  6. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think it works like that.
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    You have to do what is right for the story - personally I hate it when I can't idenitfy with a character and part of that is knowing the name.

    I write first person present tense a lot - have no bother find ways to get the name in, but if it works better for you not to have it don't do it.
     
  8. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It can work. Otherwise, you could reveal the name at some later point.

    I think it's quite a while before we learn the MC's first name in 'A Farewell to Arms', as an example, and it doesn't stop you from relating to Frederic.
     
  9. FictionAddict
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    FictionAddict Senior Member

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    I like the idea of not knowing the name. If you write it well, it can be quite interesting. Maybe you could mention his name only at the end, so that the mystery is solved.
     
  10. Silver_Dragon
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    Silver_Dragon Senior Member

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    I would let readers know the character's name, even if the protagonist is not stating it directly to them. I don't believe that not knowing a character's name helps you to put yourself in their shoes...however, if you are doing this for another reason--for example, if his identity needs to be a mystery for the purposes of the plot or some other reason--it could be interesting.
     
  11. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends how it's done. If you go 'Hello my name is...', that sounds a bit contrived.

    Names are not always necessary to form opinions about someone.
     
  12. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I remember rightly, Meg Rosoff's What I Was doesn't reveal the MC's name until the end. I didn't need to know the name and it worked quite well, as far as I can remember.

    Just write it how you want to, and once you've finished a first draft then you'll know if it works or not.
     
  13. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    There was a movie some years ago called Alien Visitor in the northern hemisphere and Epsilon in the southern hemisphere, in which there were only two characters and neither of them had a name. They were respectively 'the man' and 'she'. It sort of worked. The strange thing was you got to the end of it and didn't even realise that neither of them had a name until you read the credits.

    Cheers.
     
  14. NRG
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    NRG Senior Member

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    Alright, thanks everyone!

    I'mg gonna go with no name for the first draft, and see how it reads.
     

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