In my story THE GOSPEL OF THE RETURN OF A CHRIST THAT WANTS ANSWERS I wanted to evoke a sense of the middle ages in a modern book. So I utilized a technique where whenever I referred to a character, I directly added an adjective or a descriptor to their name. My other goal is to deepen the characters. Does this technique work in your eyes?

An example passage:

"So if you dont mind my asking, what happens to be your name?" asked the Nicholas the Entertainer.

"I am called Hakiym." said the mysterious man who provided a luxurious cigar leaf.

"Its really is good to know someone else who happens to smoke the reefer around here. Sometimes I feel mostly alone with this habit that I have here in the City of C's." said Nicholas the Friendly.

"Yes, well, this is a fairly dry city in terms of all that but I try do what I can to keep the cortex lubricated. You are a poet, no?" said the resourced Hakiym the Introduced.

"Well I happend to get on the microphone tonight." said the Nicholas the Celebrity.

"You should come out to a very special show known as the Lyrical Insurrection, its a little something that I like to entertain people with. You would fit right in with your style of speech and I even bet you do have some poems, don't you?" said the Entertaining Hakiym.

Nicholas the Smoker had started the ceremony of sprinkling the herb into the leaf so that he could engage in rolling up the reefer cigar for the purposes of experiencing conscious freedom. There is a pattern of thought and language that rolls off the tongue when lucid on the reef. It is experienced like a beautiful tapestry of thought that occurs in dream like fashion when you are lifted on the reef.

"I would truly love to come out, but I really don't know if I am an Insurrection artist, and I was wondering if you could do the honors and roll this piece up so that we could have a collaborative effort on this kush." said Nicholas the Team Player.

"That is not a problem at all." said the Problem Solving Hakiym as he picks up the instrument of enjoyment and lifts it to his mouth where he rolls it magically with his lips and creates a perfect rolled piece of highnishnes.

"Would you let me see your flame?" asks the Enterprising Hakiym.

Nicholas the Giver hands over his lighter and Hakiym the Annointed sparks it with all of the elegance and suave of a trained master of ceremonies. He takes three slow cool drags and passes it back to Nicholas the Honest One.

  • Hi Erith, welcome to Writers.SE! I made some pretty heavy edits to your original post; I hope this makes your question clearer and easier to answer.
    – Standback
    Apr 23, 2012 at 8:05

1 Answer 1


No, it doesn't work, and no, I don't think you're using the technique correctly.

When you use descriptions attached to someone's name, it is to differentiate them from someone else with that name.

To use a stereotypical example, take an Italian neighborhood with five friends all named Joseph. One will go by Joey D (for his last name). The second is Joe the Hammer, because he's a carpenter. The third is called Joey Goombatz because he picked up the nickname in second grade and nobody has ever called him anything else. Number four is called Joe Kings after some ridiculous incident at the old Kings Plaza mall, and when the fifth Joseph moved into the neighborhood the guys heard his father calling him Jo-Jo, and it stuck.

When I read your piece above, I see six guys named Nicholas talking with five or six guys named Hakim.

If you intend this to be a dialogue between two people, then your adjective phrases are so excessive as to become silly — I'm expecting the next ones to be "Nicholas of the Gilded Liver" and "Hakim Who Wears Crushed Peony Booger Perfume." Now, if that's what you're aiming for (ridiculous, giggle-inducing overkill), then you're right on target. If you want to be taken seriously, however, pick one description per person and stick with it.

Even if you can point to ten medieval sources where "they all wrote this way!" I guarantee that 99% of your audience is not going to know that, and will think you're writing a parody of some kind.

  • 2
    This question and this answer have got to be among the funniest on the site. Yeah, @Erith, this does not work at all. It just comes off as goofy and ridiculous, to be politely honest. I'm going to guess you're not a native English speaker? If you are, you're trying way too hard to make the writing feel old-fashioned. I suggest you read something similarly themed to get a feel for it. As for the question itself, your writing is decent enough that I feel like you should know this is wrong. Deepen characters through their speech and actions, not random adjectives that make next to no sense. Apr 24, 2012 at 8:39
  • 2
    ..."That is not a problem at all." said the Problem Solving Hakiym ... <--I almost lost it. Apr 24, 2012 at 8:40

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