Show or Tell?

edited February 2017 in - Writing Problems
Greetings.
Is there some advice on the above subject with regards to identifying a lone person in a story?
My initial character is alone for several hundred words. For the reader to connect with the character, they'll need a name. The story is a fantasy novel, so name tags, credit cards, etc can't be used to help reveal a name.
Question - Is this one of the times that "telling" is preferred over "showing"?
Thanks in advance. Carl

Comments

  • Is this one of the times that "telling" is preferred over "showing"?
    Yes.
  • If there's no other way then you have to tell.
  • If it's 3rd person is there a reason for using pronouns instead of a name?
    If it's 1st person and you want to avoid 'My name is x,' you could introduce the name through a memory or through the character talking to his/herself.
  • As Ana S says, in first person, you can have him talking to himself: 'Come on, Radley, you can do this,' for instance.
  • edited February 2017
    Maybe he could be looking at something else that bears his name?

    Obviously, I do not know what type of fantasy world he inhabits but:

    A "wanted" notification? Perhaps, a tombstone - could be intriguing as to how/why his name is on it? A note or letter left to him? A saddle bearing his name branded into it? Maybe he is tattooed and his name - or a symbol depicting his name - is in a visible part of his body (face, forearm etc)?
  • Or, he finds a scrunched up printout of a Writing Magazine subscription renewal in his pocket! :D
  • Or, he finds a scrunched up printout of a Writing Magazine subscription renewal in his pocket! :D
    That rather assumes the character was a subscriber to start with.
    ;)
  • I don't think you need a name. Just stick with 'I' or 'he' or 'she'. I never think of what my name is when I'm alone. Sometimes I'm surprised to remember what it is! I think to have no name for a while will really enhance that feeling of aloneness and being inside someone's head.
  • edited February 2017
    She didn't say it was his renewal, Kramer. You're leaping to conclusions there. He could be wearing the wrong person's coat. It could have a message scrawled on the back, and (just this once, Webbo!) the WM connection could be a red herring.

    I agree, Lou - several hundred words could be just three or four paragraphs, after all. The anonymous person has a major part to play in setting up tension in a story.

  • That rather assumes the character was a subscriber to start with.
    ;)
    Hey Gav, I'm gunning for brownie points here with expectation of reducing my own subscription renewal. Now, YOU have probably blown my chances!!

    8-|
Sign In or Register to comment.