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mreyes317
08-22-2009, 11:35 AM
So I've had this idea for a story/novel for a while now. I have written drafts and I cant figure out how I should introduce the main character. Like his age and his occupation. This is how I started:

'I need another vacation.' He sighed as his boss went on and on about how he could have been killed as she hugged him in a tight and unbreakable embrace.
"You'll kill him if he doesn't get air soon." A man came out of an office to the rescue. Daniel, the man, who was being hugged to death was relieved. 'My Savior' "We'll need Daniel alive for that big case he was assigned to." He walked back into his office. 'Scratch that. You evil son of a...' Finally he was let go.
Daniel....

Can anyone help?
How should he be introduced?

alleycat
08-22-2009, 11:47 AM
A question first, are you in the UK or US? The reason I ask is because of your use of single quotes. Quotations are done differently in the UK than in the US.

mreyes317
08-22-2009, 11:54 AM
I'm in the US.

alleycat
08-22-2009, 12:06 PM
Back to your question.

I think I would probably introduce the character descriptively right after an opening paragraph to set up the scene. Remember, you don't have to go into detail, there's plenty of time for that later. You just want a reader to easily visualize your character and the setting he's in. You just need a line a sentence or two at this point; perhaps a simple physical description with some specific detail or two that makes it easy for a reader to "see" the character.

alleycat
08-22-2009, 12:06 PM
I'm in the US.
Then you'll want to use double quotation marks (") rather than single, unless it's a quote within a quote.

JoNightshade
08-22-2009, 12:09 PM
I think mreyes was using single quotes for thoughts? I'm not entirely sure, I'm confused by the text.

alleycat
08-22-2009, 12:12 PM
I think mreyes was using single quotes for thoughts? I'm not entirely sure, I'm confused by the text.
I wondered about that too. I wasn't sure either, but either way, single quotes wouldn't be used.

Byakuya
08-22-2009, 12:21 PM
Is the introduction of this character at the start of the book? I will assume so, because it is it he standard way to start a book.

If so, i've been looking at openings for books recently, and a LOT of books start with a summary, i can't really explain without more information.

What kind of introduction do you want to convey? Do you want to bring in conflict, dialogue, or a passive beginning?

James D. Macdonald
08-22-2009, 04:45 PM
'I need another vacation.' He sighed as his boss went on and on about how he could have been killed as she hugged him in a tight and unbreakable embrace.

"He" should be introduced by name the very first time he shows up. "He" has no antecedent.

Mind your paragraphing. And watch the showing-not-telling (e.g. Daniel...was relieved) and passive constructions (e.g. he was let go). Be aware of what's happening. Is this the boss who's hugging him? How is she going on and on if she's also silent? Don't be vague. Not "that big case," say "the Smithers case" or whatever it is. You're asking the readers to do too much work and not giving them the tools they need to do it.


'I need another vacation.'

Linda hugged him hard. "You damn fool, you could have been killed."

"You'll kill him if he doesn't get air soon," Mortimer Woodcock said as he came out of his office.

'My Savior'

"We'll need Daniel alive for the Smithers case." Mort walked past them on his way to the coffee pot, poured himself a big mug, then vanished back into his office.

'Scratch that. You evil son of a...'

Linda let him go. Daniel....

Danthia
08-22-2009, 06:21 PM
What your main character does for a living and what he looks like is a lot less important that who he is and what's about to happen to him (or happening to him). You want readers to connect to him and like him right away, so show him facing a problem they can sympathize with, and doing something that will make them like him.

You want something along the lines of, "Look, here's a really interesting guy with a really interesting problem." Make the reader interested in what's going on, then once you have them hooked, you can slip in the other stuff. To do that, make it part of the story. If his job is important, show him at work doing it. Just make sure that what he's doing matters to the plot or to his character development, otherwise readers will wonder what the point is. If his job has no bearing on the plot, then you don;t need to spend much time on it.

mreyes317
08-23-2009, 07:15 PM
everyone thank you very much.
Jonightshade: the single quotations was meant to be for thoughts. This is what I was taught.

James D. Macdonald
08-23-2009, 07:54 PM
everyone thank you very much.
Jonightshade: the single quotations was meant to be for thoughts. This is what I was taught.


Well, you can, but italics are more common.