Does there always have to be a big, showy production about the revelation of a character's name?
I was thinking that I'd just slide the name in quietly, in an off-hand manner. Probably the reader might not even realise that they're even reading the protagonist's name there. Is that a good idea? Or is too extreme?

5 Answers 5


Your phrasing seems backwards. In fiction, there is almost never a "big, showy production about the revelation of a charactedr's name". Usually character names are introduced quite matter-of-factly. "When Bob arrived at work he met his friend Charlie." "Sally entered the room." Etc. We just say the person's name and that's it.

The only time you'd have a "big showy production" would be if the writer had built up some big mystery about the person's name. Like if the character has amnesia and doesn't know his name. Or if the character has been keeping his identity a secret.


Perhaps you're too over focused on the name and other details. To the reader, we only care if the name is way too hard to remember, too long, ridiculous, or if the other charcter are saying it way too much. But, yes, if they can't remember their own name, it would make a good revelation. Other than that it shouldn't be a big deal at all.

It's the characters and story that matters more.


It depends on context. Why has the character's name never been mentioned? Why does no one know it? What label, nickname, or epithet are you using to describe the character instead?

I would mention that as a reader, I'd be surprised and maybe do a double-take or two to wonder why more of a big deal wasn't being made at the reveal. If the other characters have been desperately trying to establish the person's name and it shows up and there's no fuss, that won't work. But if you can make it work, go for it.

  • So far, we don't actually know if nobody knows the actual name of the character. That's because so far, the only living person is my character. Apr 24, 2016 at 16:06

No, there should never be a big showy production about the revelation of a character's name. (Unless it's absolutely necessary to do so.)


The only case I can think of in which the reveal would be a big deal is something like this:

Person A is connected to person B

Person B is connected to person C

Person B tells person A about person C without mentioning the name of that person. The situation between person B and C (which person B tells person A) is intimate/extreme/personal/secret, for instance a romantic affaire with explicit details and stories or something illegal, which would have great consequences to the people close to person C should they find out. This could also be health-related, confidentiality-related and the list goes on.

Point of sudden reveal: PERSON A IS ACTUALLY INTIMATELY CONNECTED TO PERSON C, making the entire situation suddenly dramatic compared to "before knowing": Example 1: B is having sex with C. C is A's sister, brother, whatever. Example 2: B explains partying with C. A is C's therapist and knows he/she is under-age.

EDIT: Another example could be B referring to C as "the hero", with A suddenly realizing that B is talking about his nemesis (C).

I hope my point is obvious by now..

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