73

Sure, take the example of the Library story arc in Doctor Who, we see River Song tell the Doctor his name by way of convincing him she's trustworthy but we don't hear it. The audience only know what she told him because she says she's going to tell him and only know it's the right name because of the Doctor's reaction to it. The same is possible in written ...


71

Have the narrator tell the action in that place, not show it. Then show Old Man's reaction. Example: "Nothing gives you the right to do this." Old Man sat back down in his chair, hoping Taylor would take the hint and go. Instead, he bent over so close Old Man smelled beer and onions on his breath. Then Taylor whispered something Old Man had last heard ...


37

You're taking "show, don't tell" too strictly. There's no rules in writing - they're more what you'd call guidelines. If you're in doubt about a passage, write it both ways. Then see which one feels more natural, and which one feels weird and convoluted. If you're finding yourself writing in an unnatural and convoluted manner just to follow some rule, don't ...


27

Interesting question. Changing a character's name is definitely jarring to the reader (at least it has been to me). The best suggestion I've found to deal with that is to create tension about the name. If the reader spends half the story wondering what the true name is and building up to that, they'll want the name to be revealed, and it won't be jarring at ...


18

Agree with Galastel's answer, most writing "rules" are just guides so you understand the general effect on the reader. However, just picking the one that "feels natural" isn't very objective, so I'll try to be specific how each version changes the effect on the reader. Breaking the "rule" is sometimes how you signal subtext that changes the meaning. ...


17

Your readers only want to read a scene if it moves the plot forward, adds to a character's experience or inner life, or is just plain entertaining. Realism doesn't mean a character gets up to use the bathroom just because nature came calling. It means that sometimes in the middle of a 3-hour meeting with no breaks, the anxiety that comes from needing to ...


16

I think a good way to do this is to simply said "(person) called his name." or something like that.


15

There are many ways you can tackle this question. Some considerations would be how close your narration is to the MC, how the MC thinks of themselves, and how you want the reader to think of her. Let me give you some examples of how different authors treated the question, and you can see which approach fits your story best. One famous example of the MC ...


15

You seem to have chosen third person limited scope, and then decided that you're "supposed to" follow the rules of third person limited scope. You should make decisions based on what serves the story, not based on whether it's consistent with a label that otherwise applies to your story. If you had some motivation for choosing third person limited, then ask ...


15

Use the name others use for her. It's pretty standard that, if a patient can't be identified, a placeholder name gets assigned. Jane Doe (in the US anyway) is a very common one (John Doe for males). If this continues longer than a few days, the hospital staff (or the people wherever she finds herself) will come up with a nickname for her. Or your main ...


13

You can say e.g. "upon hearing his name, he turned..."


13

This will be a matter of opinion. My opinion is no, it is not okay. I write in 3PL myself, exclusively, and everything I write is as if the MC is seeing it. You are doing nothing but saving space, and saving space is not important. I would probably write that scene as: Alice sat up proudly, then shrunk back down. She just realized where she was, Bob thought....


12

In The Acts of the Apostles, leading protagonist Paul is initially introduced by his given name Saul, at which point he is an antagonist to the other heroes of the story. The narrator, Luke, who incidentally has no problem switching from third-person to first-person and back at will, changes the name of this character once he changes sides and is 'given a ...


11

I would find it annoying, or annoyingly convenient, to be switching POVs repeatedly, particularly just for one sentence. I think even when you have an omniscient narrator, you need to stick with one person per scene, or per beat. When you read a story, you are kind of sitting on the shoulder of whoever is the focus of a scene, and if the POV jumps from A ...


10

I would add one word to that (then I'll tell you why): Visa squared his shoulders, knowing Reino respected confidence. An opinion is part of somebody's internal life; and how they see the world. Without the word 'knowing', it is the narrator telling us something about Reino's internal life, and we have to guess that Visa knows this. By adding the word ...


8

Sounds fine to me. The prologue and epilogue are literally before and after the story, so it's fine for them to be formatted differently or have a different POV.


8

I've read at least one book which successfully did this; the author just titled each chapter "Bruno" and "Melusine," depending on whose perspective it was. The timeline was mostly chronological, although there was some overlap so we see how one felt about the other's actions. It worked perfectly fine for me. It's not subterfuge. Label each chapter, throw in ...


8

Welcome! +1 to both existing answers. The advantage of adding the word 'apparently' is that it further anchors us into Bob's mind without the need to add italicized thought (which can become distracting in its own right.) But--there are many tricks to get around the point-of-view break. You've mentioned one. Alice sat up proudly, then shrunk back down, ...


7

Like anything else, if it's critical to the plot, or if it would be very weird to leave it out, then put it in. If it's unnecessary or there's enough passage of time offscreen to cover it, leave it out. If it's a hostage situation, everyone involved is going to be tense and focused for hours. The hostages may get desperate and sob that they have to pee, or ...


7

Good question! This is called free indirect style. Now you know the name, you'll find lots more about it on Google. The description I've linked is probably the easiest one to start with. Hope that helps.


7

Although I have read a few things I liked written from the first person, I can't write that way myself; it is far too limiting and constrained. For one, the POV character has to be in every frikkin' scene or learn about what happened from other characters, books, videos or some other kind of discovered information. Second, if the POV character is narrating ...


7

In Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling alternates between "Aunt Petunia" "his aunt" and "she". In Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury has the following: Far off, the old man smiled. They approached each other, carefully. 'Is that you, Will? Grown an inch since this morning.' Charles Halloway shifted his gaze. 'Jim. Eyes darker, cheeks paler; you ...


7

It all depends on your narrative voice, and how sympathetic the narrator is to the character. she absolutely intends to become a new person each time, and sees herself as a "Jane" then a "Dolores", etc, at different points of the story, but I don't know if it would be clear enough for the reader. The narrative voice should confirm the new identity, not ...


7

As a reader, I wouldn't think twice about that brief "break" of POV. I also don't generally analyze "what point of view is this in?" while reading. I think, if it works in the story and flows well, don't over think it. I just recently finished an award winning book that is third person limited, but for about three pages I spent time in a minor character's ...


6

Look at the books you've read - do they mention it? If there's something unique about the situation - if your characters are extremely modest and are in a situation where they can't have privacy, or something - then it would add to characterization and could be included. But if it's just a standard toileting situation, as suggested by your verdict that "it ...


6

As long as the change is obvious that sounds like an interesting take on naming your character. You should think about how the exact change happens - it's probably unnatural if your narrator suddenly completely switches from one name to the author. Old habits die hard. You could for example make it pretty obvious by letting the narrator start with the ...


6

Another option is to have a dialog affirmation. Use an antagonist or villain of some sort who would use the old name after the new name was given, only to be corrected by the hero, and then as the narrator, refer to the new name. This would allow for the character and the narrator to be in sync that this new name will be used. From there, the narrator ...


6

This is called an indirect (or secondhand) quote. Typically, the advice is to replace it with a primary quote if at all possible. But in an oral recollection like this, it might not be possible to recover the primary source. If possible, I'd suggest NOT placing the putative quotation in quotation marks, which are usually reserved for exact quotes that you ...


6

Yes, it's fine. I would set it off though. Italics might work. Or an indented blockquote style. Or a divider between that line and the rest of the story. You might also make it a fake quote. Like many authors do (with either real or fake quotes) for story or chapter headers.


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