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 Protagonist identity crisis

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Al Stevens
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Al Stevens

Number of posts : 1727
Registration date : 2010-05-11
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Protagonist identity crisis   Protagonist identity crisis EmptyWed Jun 23, 2010 5:46 pm

I'm in a quandry. My book is in 3rd person. In the first two chapters, the protagonist does an identity change. He is Harold for two chapters, then he is Jim (working names). The 3rd person narrative makes the transition to the name, Jim, which persists for about 14 chapters. Then he does another identity change to working name Bill. I'm finding it to be awkward using a new name in the narrative. There are a few spots in the text when someone from his past shows up, and I have to use Harold, at least in dialogue. Now, that situation is compounded when he becomes Bill.

I am considering giving his 3rd identity the same first name as the 2nd and using narrative to address the convenience. Jim stays Jim, although with a different last name, which doesn't pop up often in the narrative. It would have to be a coincidence. He cannot go in search of a new identity with the same name, for reasons unimportant to this discussion. And he wouldn't. The protagonist does not know, much less care about the problems of the narrator.

My questions are:

  1. Does this same-name solution feel too unnatural, too much like a device?
  2. Are you aware of mystery novels that have this situation?
  3. If so, how does the narrative handle it?
  4. How would you handle it?
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dkchristi
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dkchristi

Number of posts : 8594
Registration date : 2008-12-29
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Protagonist identity crisis   Protagonist identity crisis EmptyWed Jun 23, 2010 6:31 pm

I'm too confused to even venture a guess :-( Sorry....
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alj
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alj

Number of posts : 9633
Registration date : 2008-12-05
Age : 76
Location : San Antonio

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PostSubject: Re: Protagonist identity crisis   Protagonist identity crisis EmptyWed Jun 23, 2010 7:01 pm

Maybe Malcolm would be willing to advise. He does the name change thing very effectively in his novel, The Sun Singer.

Ann
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Al Stevens
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
Al Stevens

Number of posts : 1727
Registration date : 2010-05-11
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Protagonist identity crisis   Protagonist identity crisis EmptySun Jun 27, 2010 8:45 am

It's getting complicated as I organize the chapter fragments into chapters for a proof reader. I am considering a restructuring that merges the two identity changes into one. I think I can make it work better.

Perhaps a day in the workshop thinking about other things will help.
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