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I am writing a romance novel. I have two main characters, Niranjan (male) and Jennifer. POV is Third Person Multiple (above two).

I have a scene where they meet first time in a restaurant. While the current POV is of Jennifer's and she does not know Niranjan's name.

Can narrator use Niranjan's name while referring him?

For Example, can I write "Jennifer walked inside the restaurant and saw Niranjan waiting for the free table" OR "Jennifer walked inside the restaurant and saw an Indian waiting for the free table"

Which one is correct?

  • How about "Jennifer walked into the restaurant and saw an attractive Indian man turn toward her. This man, named Niranjan, noticing the woman who had just entered, gestured toward a nearby chair. Jennifer then sat down next to Niranjan and simply said 'Hi'.". Things a character sees, notices, etc. refer to the other character by description, but things a character overtly does can refer to the other character by name. – supercat Nov 29 '18 at 22:08
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If the POV is Jennifer's, we are getting her perspective, as if we're riding on her shoulder. Whether we get her thoughts is up to you, but if this is from Jennifer's eyes, then no, we cannot know his name until he gives it to her.

So you have to describe him the way she sees him: an Indian man, a short man with skin the color of coffee beans, a tall man in a sharp dove-gray suit and a tremulous smile, etc.

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As far as creative writing is concerned, nothing is right or wrong. It's entirely up to you, the writer, to describe the scenes in your own way.

That said, writing just "Jennifer walked inside the restaurant and saw Niranjan waiting for the free table" sounds kind of lame and plain, whereas the second kind of sentence adds a slight element of suspense to the reader and sounds better. More than saying he's just Indian, you can also use some characteristics of Niranjan (like his manners or way of talking) to imply the character. At the same time, take care to give enough hints to the reader to imply that it is Niranjan, so that the reader isn't confused.

Hope it helps. Cheers!

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There are different levels of 3rd person narration, so it depends.

Your narrator might describe the scene like someone viewing a movie. Or the narrator might be omniscient. What yours sounds like is a narrator that goes inside the character's head and describes things as if they were in first person, just using the 3rd person point of view.

If you're inside someone's head then, yes, describe only what they experience or know. Given the way these two characters are meeting, it would be very easy for you to have them introduce themselves and get that out of the way.

If you want to put it off, let another character say the person's name.

"Niranjan? Your table is ready."

or

"Hey, Jen, don't forget you're closing tomorrow. See ya in the morning."

If your narrator is not in a character's head and just follows one of them around at a time, then you could use both names right away. Especially because it's just the two of them the narrator "knows" so well.

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