Author Topic: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm  (Read 5691 times)

Offline Morten

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2008, 03:34:29 AM »
I'm a little late in the game here - but your idea is one I'll be sure to try out myself.

I'm immediately thinking crime or suspense/thriller. Because the unknown is such a scary thing I'd set off writing this character as the main antagonist (alien, predator etc). But writing the nameless character as the main dude opens up a whole new set of ideas. Maybe the hitman with the unknown past etc. Or the amnesia-story, one of my favorites.

But I would guess if you're writing in 3rd p. you'd have to give the character some kind of name somewhere. Even if it isn't his real name, we humans tend to give stuff names even if the writer likes it or not. It's in our nature. "Alien", "The hitman", "The Bay Harbor Butcher", "The Shadowman" - you get the point.


MR

Offline ladylaughalot

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2008, 04:37:20 AM »
addressing the main character becomes quite difficult

I just wanted to add my two cents about the above, I have a really bad memory for names so I have spent a large part of my life addressing people without using their names in order to get by without seeming rude. So maybe I can give you a few tips in this regard.

Usually I just catch the eye of the person I want to speak to and address my comment to them that way. Another trick is to lightly touch the person you want to speak to on the arm to get their attention and then speak to them. Or if touching is out a nickname, like buddy or mate, or formal title, like sir or mam (I do this at work when I've forgotten my clients name), can work. Or if none of those are appropriate saying something like "oh hey," quite loudly to attract your targets attention and then speaking directly to them by maintaining eye contact.

I hope some of them were helpful, you're project sounds interesting... can I ask what kind of protagonist is nameless? A John Doe with memory loss, in a mental word because they can't locate any family? That's all I can think of, and would be a really good story if done properly. Or .... actually more ideas are coming to me.... I think it makes a really good premise, I'd love to know more about it!
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Offline CollegeGuy

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2008, 03:00:42 PM »
 Im going through tons and tons of pages just writing down ideas and seeing where they take me and I'm loving what im getting out of it. anyways, the character knows his name, its not that even he doesn't know it. Its more that he has nobody around him. hes all alone and through his past we see that he's never had a connection with anyone. Its sorta the theme of the "Importance of a name"...if you have nobody to call your name, what then is the point of having one? He doesn't have a friend, and those who know him arn't close enough to care. they're like people in a bar...if you're near them you'll talk to them about nothing in particular, but outside of the bar the conversations never happened...

He's going through a lot of changes, so we'll see how well i keep it up :)

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Offline Omni

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2008, 03:24:49 PM »
Several people have mentioned films where a character was nameless. Films and books work differently.

Omni

Offline meshmesh11

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2008, 03:23:44 PM »
Would a nameless protagonist work?  I've made it work in short stories told in first person.  I don't know that I would try it with a longer piece, but that's just me.  A lot depends on the story and the writer. 

Would it work?  Give it a try.  You'll know soon enough.


I'd have to kinda agree with you. When i read shortstories with "nameless" characters. it worked for me. For a long novel, it is kind of confusing. "who was who again??" I'd keep thinking. Even if they don't a background (like where they live or their age..etc) It is not as confusing as not having a name. the name defines the character.
But that's only me opinion.

Offline ladylaughalot

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2008, 10:14:52 PM »
Im going through tons and tons of pages just writing down ideas and seeing where they take me and I'm loving what im getting out of it. anyways, the character knows his name, its not that even he doesn't know it. Its more that he has nobody around him. hes all alone and through his past we see that he's never had a connection with anyone. Its sorta the theme of the "Importance of a name"...if you have nobody to call your name, what then is the point of having one? He doesn't have a friend, and those who know him arn't close enough to care. they're like people in a bar...if you're near them you'll talk to them about nothing in particular, but outside of the bar the conversations never happened...

He's going through a lot of changes, so we'll see how well i keep it up :)

~~Collegeguy~~

I think it sounds like a really interesting concept, of course with this kind of unique idea your delivery becomes even more important than usual. Is the conflict going to be all internal or will there be an outer conflict aswell? Is your protagonist going to have an antagonist or will he be his own antagonist?

Will he identify a person who has everything he does not and hold him as his enemy? or does he turn inwards on himself? Is this a deathbed drama where your protagonist dies full of regret or more of a "Christmas Carol" type experience where the main character survives the experience and learns from it.

You have me very interested, as you can probably tell by all of my questions.... If I've asked any that you'd prefer not to answer please feel free to ignore them.
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Offline CollegeGuy

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2008, 10:29:08 PM »
I plan on having both internal and external conflict, though whether there will be more of one than the other I can't really say. He's going to struggle a lot with identifying with people, primarily because it's something he never really experienced. He'll have an antagonist, but I'm juggling a lot of ideas as to if it will be one person or a group of people or something like that...

He's not really jealous of others so I dont think he'll target anyone who has something he doesn't. He tends to lack friendship and extroverted personality qualities. Apart from that he's pretty well set.

As for the ending, even I'm not sure yet. I like to write and see where it takes me...just my style.

And for the questions, ask away! i'd love nothing more to answer them. by answering people's questions about the work I'm going to learn more about it myself, so please don't hesitate to ask me anything!

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Offline ladylaughalot

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2008, 11:11:11 PM »
Well it sounds fascinating, if your ever looking for someone to have a look over it or anything I hope you'll think of me.

Is there going to be a central conflict and resolution or will it be more of a modern literature style, somewhat disjointed with a series of different conflicts and potentially no resolution to any of them? Personally I prefer the first type myself, just because I like closure, but I can see that with this type of story the second type would probably work very well.

The question I'm most dying to ask, which is probably the least polite to in a context like this, is... How will it end??
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Offline CollegeGuy

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2008, 11:26:24 PM »
unfortunately its going to be the latter style...Its shaping up to have a huge central plot with a whole lot of sub plots along the way...I'm not entirely convinced on how i want it to end though, the words keep coming and I keep changing my mind. It'll be strong though because with this many ideas it can't afford to be weak!

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Offline ladylaughalot

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2008, 06:38:52 AM »
Hey I just wanted to let you know about a book I read, that made me think of this topic The book is called "The Snow" by Adam Roberts and the reason I think you'd find it interesting is that, it's not the main character who is nameless but everyone else. It's presented as classified documents that are basically testimony by the main character and because these documents are classified whenever someone's name is used it's been replaced with <Blank>. Very unique presentation and extremely well done because although no-one has a name (aside from the protagonist and one or two nicknames) it never gets confusing as to which character is being referred to. Also if your other thread is related to this one (which I guess it must be) the protagonist is not very likeable at all!
Whether you think you can or you think you can't your probably right.

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Offline CollegeGuy

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2008, 10:18:27 AM »
Now you've got me interested...I'm gunna go see if my library carries it, otherwise its another book to add to the endless list :)

has anyone here wrote a piece with a nameless protagonist that worked for them? I'm interested to see how many people have tried it...

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Offline Don

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #26 on: February 05, 2008, 08:55:43 PM »
I've written a few of them.
I have a motto: when in doubt, go for the cheap laugh.

Offline thatollie

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #27 on: February 05, 2008, 08:56:42 PM »
Sure I've done one.
Never make a decision standing up.

Offline CollegeGuy

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2008, 09:14:22 PM »
and they worked for you i take it?

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Offline thatollie

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Re: The idea of a nameless protagonist...hmmmm
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2008, 09:16:26 PM »
Some very pretty girls loved it. And some other people.
Never make a decision standing up.