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Old 11-18-2019, 06:40 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2019
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Default Character name in disguise

Hi Guys,

I wondered if someone could help. I am writing a scene where a character is giving a presentation to a group of would be investors. However, the character giving the presentation is a criminal and the investors are undercover police. It is a sting. The main undercover officer interacts with the criminal and then reveals himself to be police. Prior to revealing himself, I have his character name as Investor 1 but once he reveals his name when he draws his badge, I use his real name as he has revealed.

Is this correct or should I do this differently?

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Old 11-18-2019, 08:00 PM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Default Re: Character name in disguise

Found these links on the Internet:

When characters have multiple names” — Blog post by screenwriter John August

Characters w/ multiple names” — Blog post by screenwriter John August
“Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.” — Ray Bradbury

Last edited by TigerFang : 01-13-2020 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 11-23-2019, 11:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Character name in disguise

I just now read what John August had to say on the subject.

Here is my view on it.

People say, almost unanimously, to use the phony name to begin with, because most people regard the reader as a member of the audience who is supposed to be surprised at revelations just as a member of the audience would be surprised. This is a perfectly acceptable approach, and most writers follow it.

However, it is not necessary to handle the situation that way. No rule says that you cannot be "honest" from the outset about who a character is. It is up to you.

A special situation arises when a character is really playing two roles. John August mentioned the situation of Bruce Wayne and Batman. In a situation like that, you really ought to use the Character name that corresponds to the character who is being portrayed at the moment. Similarly, in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, the female character Viola pretends to be a male character Cesario for much of the play. It is reasonable and more efficient to use Viola for the obviously female role and Cesario for the male role.

Do not get hung up on rules. Very few hard and fast rules exist.

Happy writing!

"The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." — ComicBent.
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