1. Reptile Hazard
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    Reptile Hazard Member

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    Would not introducing the MC name hurt the beginning of the story?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Reptile Hazard, Jun 26, 2012.

    I'm currently at a roadblock with this issue. In my story, the MC is on a deserted town looking for someone. The problem is that because there is no one to introduce the MC's name to, the reader has to spend a good portion of the beginning following a nameless protagonist.

    I know that there IS one person to introduce the MC to (which would be the reader) but presenting the character that way wouldn't really move the plot along, and I feel it would be out of place. It would be like saying: "Here's the protagonist. Now here's his/her story"

    The way I've written the story, the protagonist is nameless for a good while, but that's not to say nothing is happening. There is inner conflict going on, and the character is eventually named.

    Note that I'm not asking how to introduce my protagonist, I'm asking whether it would hurt the story or not to have a nameless protagonist in the beginning.
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Hmm, I don't think it'll hurt the story so much. If there's conflict going on and the we're getting to know the character's personality through the text, I personally wouldn't mind. I would think the reader would be concentrated on what's going on, rather than the MC's name.
    Although, I think it shouldn't be revealed too late. I wouldn't like to go 5 chapters without knowing it..
     
  3. Lumipon
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    Lumipon Member

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    It hurts the reading, mostly. Referring to the protag as "he" all the might might get confusing/boring really fast. I can't really recall a story where a POV character is unnamed for a long period.

    A way to circumvent this issue is to just refer the protagonist with a somewhat descriptive term, like "wanderer", "loner", "red-head" or "profession" (whatever it may be).

    The goal is to use a short, simple term, almost like a proper name. Also, try to avoid overusing long terms like "Woman in a black coat" or "Brown-haired giant".
     
  4. Reptile Hazard
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    Reptile Hazard Member

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    Well, there is the inner conflict going on, and I certainly made sure to have the character active in relation to what's going on.

    I should have mentioned this in the OP, but by "nameless for a good while" I meant until about the end of the first chapter.

    Lumipon: I do referr to the protagonist as just "she" a number of times. Thanks for the suggestions! Though I should mention this is in third person, so I don't know if I'm just making it too difficult for myself to not just say the name.

    In any case, thanks Youniquee and Lumipon, really appreciate the feedback.
     
  5. michaelj
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    michaelj Senior Member

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    It worked well in "Sharpe's Rifles", you find out the name of the MC at the end of the chapter. (though if you've read the previous books, you'd already know his name).
     
  6. lasm
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    lasm Member

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    I don't see it as a big problem, but just wanted to suggest that if it bothers you, you might have the MC talk to herself or think of something someone once said to her, either of which could include her name. For example:

    She knocked on the door, then said to herself, "Shit, Reptile, this is no time to be polite."
    She opened the door, her grandmother's voice sending up a faint admonition from her memory: "Now, Reptile, never enter a room without knocking."
     
  7. Reptile Hazard
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    Reptile Hazard Member

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    Hadn't thought of that! It sounds like a great way to introduce the name without having another character in the scene. Thanks!
     
  8. Psychotrshman
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    Psychotrshman Member

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    With Inner conflict, the MC could walk past a mirror similar to lasm's suggestion. As they walk by it they could catch a glimpse of their appearance and then chastise themselves internally about some neglected physical attribute. This would also allow you to hint at their appearance as well.

    As she walked down the darkened hallway, the soft light from her candle stick bounced off a dust covered mirror that hung forgotten on the wall. Stealing a glance as she walked by she couldn't help but notice how her long blonde hair was almost brown with mud or how the added weight from the thunderstorm outside made it cling to her muscular body like wet noodles. "D*** it Nikki," she mumbled to herself. "You have to get out of this old house before you catch your death girl."

    That's just a rough example, but hopefully it helps some. :) Good Luck!:)
     

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