Saturday, September 08, 2007

What's my name naaaame...naaaame....naaaame....

Reading Wittgenstein's Mistress by David Markson (which is totally intriguing) has reminded me of a debate I am having with myself about revealing my main character's real name. I have only used Trapper as his name, because that is what people call him, and how he refers to himself. In Wittgenstein's Mistress, the main character is telling 1st person POV her adventures. On pg 33 we learn her name (probably). Much is suspect in this novel, so who knows so far. Anyway, because I had assumed the reader wouldn't learn her name, it brought back my own internal debate about my character names.

I wonder if the writer is short changing the reader if we learn their name, or if we don't? Depending on what indicates such. I am especially sensitive this week to short changing readers (looking at you last paragraph in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency).

Another example for me of how reading influences and directs writing.


  1. Anonymous5:09 PM

    Intriguing post. Thought-provoking.
    Thanks. David M

  2. Hi David: Thank you. I still really can't decide about revealing the name. I have a feeling this debate with myself (hey someone to argue with!) will go on for sometime.

  3. Anonymous7:54 PM

    Maybe the concrete action of simultaneously* working on both versions -rather than abstractly contemplating them- might help you see which version is the most appropriate in terms of your story and its readers.

    David M.
    *Alternatively, you could write one version; put it away, and then start on the other version.

  4. I think I will write one version and then put it away. So far the decision won't impact the story as far as I know. That could change. I think writing one might help determine it, and then putting it away will show me just how right my decision was. Looking back always clarifies my writing. Thanks!