1. Underneath

    Underneath Member

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    Changing titles within a scene, can it be done?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Underneath, Oct 1, 2020.

    I have a scene in this manuscript I’m writing. To give the short:

    The Emperor’s son meets his father. He is referred to from the beginning as His Emperor Father in the beginning of the POV chapter. A messenger calls the Emperor’s son to the meeting and refers to him as “Our Emperor Magnus the Second” to establish his full name.

    In the beginning of their conversation, the Emperor is a scolding and stern parent, which gives him the tag His Emperor Father through his son’s eyes. Towards the middle of their conversation, their father leans into a softer and more caring role. This leads the son to reflect on the many faces his father wears. Of the scolding parent. Of The Emperor at court, where he administers justice. How the face his father is now wearing is rare, of a mortal man with emotions, shrugging off the mantle of his titles and donning a caring guise.

    This then earns his father the dialogue tag Magnus II, without titles. This continues until new characters are introduced to the scene, where it continues until the son reflects on the fact his father has now changed faces again — which earns him the dialogue tag The Emperor.

    The Emperor uses different shows of personality throughout these three title changes (or face-changes) to accompany them. Scolding. Caring. Regal, and in control.

    My question is, can this be done? Is there precedent for this? Is it wholly confusing or might it just work considering this is through the POV of his son? Is this a case-by-case basis and the very question pointless?

    Thank you for your time.
     
  2. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    Don't do it. It will confuse the reader.

    To go back to an example @Wreybies used in a different thread, Paul Atreides is known by many names, depending on who he is speaking to, but he is always referred as Paul in the narrative.
     
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  3. Underneath

    Underneath Member

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    Would you recommend just sticking to the first name given, His Emperor Father then?
     
  4. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    No. I would refer to him by name, not title.
     
  5. Underneath

    Underneath Member

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    Maybe just “his father” would suit best.
     

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