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I am not quite sure whether this question would be a valid one for this site but I am having some doubts and I would love to get some help here.

My case is, I have an assignment where I have to write an introduction to the lead character, the protagonist of a story. This introduction would then be used further to create a story revolving around this person.

Now I have written an introduction, but in that, I am doubtful about the number of times I have used the character's name. Below is an excerpt of what I've written.

Kunal is a 30 year old MBA graduate who lives in the IT hub of India, Bengaluru. A muscular built, fair looking, and above average height man who has a strong vision in his eyes. Kunal hails from a small city, born and brought up in a joint family. Since his childhood, he has been taught the value of family and relations. Kunal shares a special bond with his mother. She has been the life support of Kunal. Ever since his childhood, she has been the support pillar of Kunal. Living in a joint family, it wasn’t always easy to have a quiet, peaceful life; but his mother never let that effect his childhood. Doing his engineering, Kunal knew that this wasn’t the right field for him. Working in the college events, he came to understand his liking for marketing and went for MBA. Pursuing MBA, Kunal found his love for travelling. In his studies of master, did he realise that this was the thing that he would love to do, his field of interest. In his second year, he started a blog sharing his passion for travelling and his travel stories. Doing post-graduation from a city like Shillong, he had tonnes of travel stories to share with the world. Quickly his blog started getting attention and soon he gained fame. Today Kunal lives a rigid life. Wakes up early at 5 in the morning, goes to the gym regularly, follows a healthy diet and puts all his effort in pursuing his dream. Kunal has a vision in his eyes, has a dream to achieve. A dream to travel the entire world and share his experiences to everyone. Kunal believes that travelling should be a luxury that should be for all. With that vision in mind, Kunal is determined to work on it day and night.

PS: I am new to writing so please don't judge my skill straight away. :D

Also, I would love to get some suggestions on what I've written. Thanks!

  • You should specify what you are writing. Plays sometimes have this kind of character introduction (albeit usually a lot shorter), but it is a storytelling device heavily frowned upon on novels, short stories and other similar mediums. – FFN Nov 7 '17 at 13:03
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    There may very likely be a cultural exception here, but as a college educated WASP American I see an awkward overabundance of boldface "Kunal" all through the example. You even missed a few when selecting them for emphasis :) Now, that said, it reads okay—it gives me the same vibe I get reading a translated work, like something by Pushkin translated to English. Not necessarily a bad thing. If I were to make a constructive suggestion, I'd recommend pushing us straight into the action rather than spending so much time telling us Kunal's background. – elrobis Nov 7 '17 at 15:22
  • @FFN the introduction that I'm writing here is particularly an assignment given to me. If it turn out good, the plan is to implement it and the story that continues in making a movie. – HardikT Nov 7 '17 at 20:15
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    @Aspen okay, could you suggest something to make it better? – HardikT Nov 8 '17 at 12:13
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    @Trivedi...I may not be able to back that up, it was just a gut feeling or impression I had. – elrobis Nov 8 '17 at 17:11
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Well, yes, it's a good idea to repeat the character's name to drive it into reader's mind. Only an author should be careful that it would not be repetitive and boring.

Let's check a classic example:

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.

(c) Vladimir Nabokov

I don't want to comment much on your writing, and it seems like you are on the right path, only it feels more like an article than a work of fiction.

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My group is facing similar problems when writing character sheets for role playing games. In a short paragraph, we have to describe the essential traits of a character that will be portrayed by a player.

Some solutions we found are:

  1. Use pronouns: Kunal was a smart guy. He was raised in a community of tinkers.
  2. Use descriptive aliases, such as race, origin, traits, etc.: Kunal loved to travel. The Indian boy dreamed to see the world.
  3. Use both first name and last name: Kunal was a smart kid. All teachers loved the young Ranghanathan.
  4. Make up nick-names: Kunal "Apu" Ranghanathan was a smart kid. Everybody loved Kunal. One day, Apu left.

(Now, I just used your Kunal to make my points: in your specific case they might not fit 100%, and you need to tweak the idea a bit)

When writing my first novel for the NaNoWriMo, I encountered a similar problem with my characters. I added a toponym (the reign of origin) and a nickname for each of them, so I had 3 ways to name them instead of just one.

  • FYI - "Indian" is a nationality and should be capitalized. – called2voyage Nov 7 '17 at 21:57
  • In my language tradition, that is not done anymore. It was a thing from the past which is being abandoned. I didn't know about that usage in the english language, so I'm sorry. – FraEnrico Nov 8 '17 at 7:52
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    Great. That's quite informative. – HardikT Nov 8 '17 at 12:15
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I tend to have the same problem. My reader said I "over (character's name'ed) the page."

So far I've found it helpful to go back and change some of those (character's name) to (he or she) or (him or her) and see if it loses anything. If it doesn't, then I switch. If by saying "he" or "she" and I find it confusing, then I put the character's name back in.

I tried the "look for nicknames or alternative names for the character" but I found when rereading the passage it could get confusing. For instance I'd sometimes refer to one of my POV character's by name and sometimes "the child". It got confusing when describing "the child" at the playground with other child characters. I ended up going back and removing a lot of the nickname/ alt names. Not to say it won't work, it just didn't work for me.

Since I am still learning and haven't quite figured out how much is too much, I'm not sure how helpful my reply will be. I am eagerly reading the other answers as a guide for my work too.

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