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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • Character doesn't remember his name... : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
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Character doesn't remember his name...

PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:08 am
by cj741126
I'm slowly working on a short but I'm a bit stumped on how to continue with it. I tried to search for an answer or at least a few recommendations but I was unable to track anything down. My main (pro) in the beginning of the story doesn't remember his name or where he is from or any details of who he is. When I'm writing it, do I still call him by his name in text or does that confuse things? I don't know how to do it otherwise. Thank you....

Re: Character doesn't remember his name...

PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:25 pm
by shadowwalker
JMO, but if the character doesn't know his name, how would the reader? I would leave it out until the character remembers or is 'given' a name by another character.

Re: Character doesn't remember his name...

PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:44 pm
by cj741126

Re: Character doesn't remember his name...

PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:51 pm
by shadowwalker
I wouldn't worry too much about the 'he' and 'his'. They're kinda like 'said' - the reader doesn't really notice them unless you're starting every single sentence with them. Don't forget that if you're in the character's head (I think that's called third person limited omniscience - been decades since I really cared what it was called :roll: ) you can be a lot more flexible with sentence structure than if it's "strict" narrative, and that makes it easier to get away from the 'he' and 'his' problem. (I love using that technique ;) )

Re: Character doesn't remember his name...

PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:25 am
by cj741126
My writing is the furthest thing from strict so yes I am playing around with his dialogue a bit and the sentence structure as well. I'll leave out He or His sometimes and jump directly in dialogue, its a lot easier than I thought. It makes for some interesting and humorous (at times) dialogue from the other characters when they converse with him. Eventually though, the way I have it worked out, I'll have to intro his name and that's coming soon. Thanks again shadowwalker.

Re: Character doesn't remember his name...

PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:07 pm
by DrG2
It depends on who is the narrator. If it's a first person narrator or a third person limited narrator, he wouldn't know his name. If it's a third person omniscient narrator, he would know his name.

Starting a story with a character's memory loss is a huge cliche and a deal breaker for many folks. OTOH, House of Secrets, by Metzger and Goldberg is a recent (big selling) example.

Re: Character doesn't remember his name...

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 12:22 pm
by cj741126