A Third Person Character's Thoughts on His Names

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Re: A Third Person Character's Thoughts on His Names

Postby Pat James » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:06 pm

[quote="Vio4n"][quote="jackitaylor"]It might be a bit confusing, at first, until the reader really connects with the character, so maybe the first few times he shifts, a little reminder maybe, somehow, that its the same guy, rather than just jumping right into the use of the other name? just some thoughts . . .[/quote]

I think I've thoroughly explained it in my writing, but I plan to have a friend or two beta-read it before I do anything else

[quote="Pat James"][quote="Vio4n"]My character can shapeshift; I swear it's nothing cliche like turning into a wolf or something. This isn't a Gary-Stu.
My question is: How should I write his name(s) in third person if he changes into another being with a different name? Would he still think of himself as the being he was when he was introduced in the story or would he think of himself with the name of the being he has transformed into?

edit: I personally feel that (and I have done this and will edit if someone gives some good points on this issue) I should let the new names come into the third person view and the character is called blank instead of blank after he changes. I just want others' opinions or ideas.[/quote]


Why would his name change? That entity should have the same name no matter what shape they shift to.
Now maybe with first person POV it could change, but that would take some careful writing not to confuse the reader.[/quote]

I feel like his name would change in the third person because he has actually been this other character, lived that life. He feels as much as that person as he does the person he was before he changed. Again, I will have it beta'd to have another perspective on how confusing it might be.[/quote]


Maybe in first person I could agree. Then the character is somebody else to himself. But in third person he is still the same one to us.
What would you do if it were the same character but multiple personalities without any shift shaping changes.

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Re: A Third Person Character's Thoughts on His Names

Postby ostarella » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:45 pm

I've read where people with Dissociative identity disorder will refer to the other identities by their name rather than the "original" name. I guess it would depend on how much awareness your character has of the old identity and the strength of the new one. Does he retain knowledge of his original identity, or merely the fact that he can shift? In other words, is he merely shifting shape or does his personality change with it? Is he merely taking advantage of the new shape's abilities/thoughts/personality or is he allowing them to take over? And of course, in any of that, there are the various points on the spectrum of control.

I can certainly see him being fully aware of the personality of the new shape, and, knowing that it's not totally himself, referring to the new shape by its name. I would almost look at it in the same way we talk to ourselves - we may not name the "other" we're talking to, but if we can argue with and belittle ourselves, it's not a stretch to give the "other" another name.

And frankly, rather than confuse, I think it could help readers keep track of who's who and when. (I mean, look how confusing it is not naming the "other" just in this discussion! ;) )

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Re: A Third Person Character's Thoughts on His Names

Postby Vio4n » Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:04 pm

[quote="Pat James"]
Why would his name change? That entity should have the same name no matter what shape they shift to.
Now maybe with first person POV it could change, but that would take some careful writing not to confuse the reader.[/quote]

I feel like his name would change in the third person because he has actually been this other character, lived that life. He feels as much as that person as he does the person he was before he changed. Again, I will have it beta'd to have another perspective on how confusing it might be.[/quote]


Maybe in first person I could agree. Then the character is somebody else to himself. But in third person he is still the same one to us.
What would you do if it were the same character but multiple personalities without any shift shaping changes.[/quote]

- If the character were just one and only had some personality disorder then I'd still use names, I think, to discern the different personalities from one another. Personally, I don't like first person pov at all *shrug*

[quote="ostarella"]I've read where people with Dissociative identity disorder will refer to the other identities by their name rather than the "original" name. I guess it would depend on how much awareness your character has of the old identity and the strength of the new one. Does he retain knowledge of his original identity, or merely the fact that he can shift? In other words, is he merely shifting shape or does his personality change with it? Is he merely taking advantage of the new shape's abilities/thoughts/personality or is he allowing them to take over? And of course, in any of that, there are the various points on the spectrum of control.

I can certainly see him being fully aware of the personality of the new shape, and, knowing that it's not totally himself, referring to the new shape by its name. I would almost look at it in the same way we talk to ourselves - we may not name the "other" we're talking to, but if we can argue with and belittle ourselves, it's not a stretch to give the "other" another name.

And frankly, rather than confuse, I think it could help readers keep track of who's who and when. (I mean, look how confusing it is not naming the "other" just in this discussion! ;) )[/quote]

- Yeah I get you there; let's use his names, then, and more detail. When he changes from Emil (a kid) to Thrair (a dwarf), he doesn't change personalities, just bodies. He retains all of the information and memories of the life he lived in that body because he is a single being (a maia, which is an angelic being, kind of) that happened to live with multiple bodies because the Creator (Iluvatar) put him in those bodies after his old one was killed. His personality is always the same, but sometimes he might act different in a certain body. For instance, he could be more demanding and authoritative as a dwarf because he's gruff-looking and intimidating, rather than when he's a kid, he can't really do that due to social status. He can shift into whatever he wants, hypothetically (according to lore written by Tolkien), but he usually has a few that he always uses. One if which is a scent and nothing more- that one doesn't have a name. In fact he remembers all that he's lived through, which is the entirety of time. His kind were created before the earth was even a thought in their consciousness. And yes, I lean towards changing his names in third person pov since it would be easier to differentiate between the forms of transformation.

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Re: A Third Person Character's Thoughts on His Names

Postby ostarella » Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:38 pm

[quote="Vio4n"]And yes, I lean towards changing his names in third person pov since it would be easier to differentiate between the forms of transformation.[/quote]

Yeah, I think it would be better because of the confusion part, but also because it's a different character during the change - same thoughts and motivations but, as you noted, the actions he's able to take are different, and so he has to act as that persona. Using the different name can actually allow you to write the new persona better, making the merge/separation more acute in your own mind.

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Re: A Third Person Character's Thoughts on His Names

Postby Vio4n » Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:41 pm

[quote="ostarella"][quote="Vio4n"]And yes, I lean towards changing his names in third person pov since it would be easier to differentiate between the forms of transformation.[/quote]

Yeah, I think it would be better because of the confusion part, but also because it's a different character during the change - same thoughts and motivations but, as you noted, the actions he's able to take are different, and so he has to act as that persona. Using the different name can actually allow you to write the new persona better, making the merge/separation more acute in your own mind.[/quote]

I like that point, thank you!

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