The Unsplash Book
Photo by Scott Webb at Unsplash

I’m currently writing in 1st POV which is new for me. My Starlighters and Elemental Storm is 3rd POV, so dropping the name in sentence one should be pretty easy to do or at the very least the first paragraph. It’s vital. I’ll talk more on my reasons for changing to 1st POV another time. But they are both close POVs, so the only thing I’m changing is the pronoun. 

But when should you first drop the MC’s name in 1st POV without it feeling forced? 

In all honesty, I think I did it in a pretty good and natural way. Just that someone commented on it, and it got me thinking if there was a better way to go about it. I drop it just over 200 words in, 4 paragraphs. It’s the first natural place I could do it, and it’s another character who says the MC’s name. 

I wanted to set the scene a little and drop something personal about the MC before she starts to do anything that the reader needs to follow. And I got a lot of positive comments about those early paragraphs. I’m not a fan of instant action. And by instant, I mean in the first half a page or so. Let me get some sense on the MC before you go all badass or start throwing info and more characters at me.

But back to name-dropping…

There’s the “Hi, my name is…” Ugh, really? Not a fan, like at all. You wanna do it, go ahead. I’ve read plenty of successful books with something like that or “people call me…” But again, not my style unless I wanna be Slim Shady. 

Most readers read the book blurb or synopsis so would already know the MC’s name. But writers can’t, and shouldn’t, rely on this. You never know if your readers will expect multiple POVs even in 1st.

There’s naming your chapters with the MC’s name if you have multiple POVs. But I like more creative chapter names, so this wouldn’t work for me either.

Is there a better way than how I did it? Does it matter if I mention the name within those first few paragraphs? How long should you leave it before mentioning the MC’s name when you’re in 1st POV?

Take “The Poison Diaries” by Maryrose Wood. It’s very similar to my style and tone and setting, so I skimmed through the first pages. Five pages in. And I didn’t think anything of it. Robin Hobb’s “Assassin’s Apprentice” again, several pages in.  Sarah J. Maas’ “A Court of Thorns and Roses” doesn’t mention the MC’s name until chapter 2. So is 200 words in too late? Me thinks not. 

None of these bothered me as I was reading them. In fact, I was so engrossed in the story and how well they were in the MC’s head that I didn’t even think of the name. How often do you think of your own name? Unless you’re Iron Man?

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