1. WriterWoodsy
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    WriterWoodsy Member

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    pronoun alternatives

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by WriterWoodsy, Jul 12, 2012.

    I have a character who doesn't have a name for a chapter or so. So she's currently only being referred to as "the girl" and "she". It all feels really clunky, any ideas as to what to call her to make it a little more interesting before she gets her name?
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why is it so important to delay revealing her name?
     
  3. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    I am guessing you have a good reason for not revealing the name, in that case using 'the girl' and 'she' is alright. As for clunky sentences, repeated use of names can also be clunky, the problem may be more to do with sentence structures rather than nouns or pronouns. Once you have established the viewpoint character (character whose perspective you are using) or once it is established which character the narrator is talking about, more often than not, you can drop the repeated use of names and pronouns.

    Example:

    The girl was scared. She didn't like the lack of light in the room and the stuffiness. She felt chills down her spine. She saw the table moving by itself, almost floating, without any warning. She wanted to scream but no sound came out of her open mouth. The little girl couldn't remember when she started running for the exit but she was glad she ran.


    Could be written as:

    The girl didn't like the room at all. The lack of lights sent chills down her spine, and the stuffiness of the room was suffocating. Without any warning the table floated from one corner to the other. She wanted to scream but she lost her voice somehow. How she ran for the exit remained a mystery to her, but the little girl was glad she ran.

    Not the greatest of prose but I hope you get where I am going with this.
     
  4. WriterWoodsy
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    WriterWoodsy Member

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    chicagoliz- It's not a matter of revealing a name, she literally doesn't have one until some random people give her a nickname.

    Yeah, thanks Killbill. I guess I'll just try mix it up.
     
  5. shaylyn
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    shaylyn Member

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    I'm doing something similar. My MC meets a boy but he refuses to tell her his name for the first few chapters. So she, and I, just refer to him as No-name.
     
  6. Program
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    Program Member

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    killbill's suggestions would work. You are also not restricted to using complete sentences. Sometimes, one can combine two sentences together, into a single, more effective run-on (or make one a parenthetical expression), for example, and that would cause you to use one less pronoun. Other times, it can seem less awkward if there are more words between each occurence of the pronoun. Keep working - I'm sure you'll come up with a solution.
     
  7. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    I role played a character like that once. It took quite a few days for the other players to "give" me a name.

    I was referred to as...
    girl
    lady
    hey
    madame
    red (my character had red hair)
    No Name
    YOU!

    and probably a few expletives LOL
     
  8. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    I agree here, to get around this headache I would plan a different opening for the story. I never get too attached to any single idea, and if I look at my writing and it feels clunky, or the tiniest seed of doubt says its not great, I have no problem rewriting the whole chapter.

    EDIT - It is a headache to write characters without a name, or characters whose gender is not specified... I have tried both in short stories and had one of them critiqued. I think everybody said it was confusing and took away from the story.
     
  9. rogue writer
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    rogue writer Member

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    I like BF's idea. Possibly alternate based on physical description. If you describe her hair color, perhaps she could be the brunette?

    PS-I also like killbill's ideas.
     

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