Zenobia Book Series - Writing Question on using aliases
In Book two Zenobia - Challenging a legend, Zenobia uses two different aliases to accomplish dangerous life and death missions. It's not just her life on the line but her fellow warriors and those whom they are trying to save.
Using multiple names for a character can be tricky. In one of the writing forums I visit they discuss this issue.
Here are some suggestions by other writers on how to use multiple names for the same character:
"I'm handling it by always calling her by her real name in the prose, but using her fake names in dialogue."
"When someone is speaking to him, use the name he's being referred to in the dialogue. Then when the MC responds, have the dialogue tag say his real name. At least to open the exchange. Use his real name throughout the story. Be consistent with, only referring to the other names via dialogue with other characters."
"How you handle it depends largely on how many POVs you are writing from. If the only POV you use is your MC's then, as others have said, in the narrative stick to his original name and in dialogue use whatever is appropriate. But if you have other POV characters who would only know your character by one of his other names, then that name should be used in the narrative as well, else it would be a POV violation."
Another important note is to never confuse your reader, so a good introduction to the alias being used will go a long ways.
Let me share some scenes from book two Zenobia - Challenging a Legend to see if the multiple names are being used correctly and if it's clear to YOU the reader.
('Alias' a portrayal of Zenobia in her deception)
In this scene Zenobia and her fellow warriors require help from a pirate about commandeering a ship.
It was twilight when Zenobia, Salim, and Lemuel met Jasmine. The four of them made their way down to the docks along the sea...
"We have arrived," Jasmine said as a stocky man came around the corner of the building. Zenobia's hand instinctively went to the handle of her sword.
"Caras, good to see you," Jasmine addressed the man. "This is Lydia. This is Caras, who may be providing your ride."
"I am pleased to mee you, Caras," Zenobia said with a bow. "My business partners, Salim and Lemuel."
('Pirates of Caribbean' depicting what I imagine Salim and Lemuel look like as pirates)
Salim and Lemuel, Syrian warriors are trying to get information about a certain ship. Here's a scene using an alias as they pretend to be a pirates looking for work.
"I told you so," said Salim to Lemuel. "Let's try to sign on for a grain ship or something tranquil. We don't need risks."
"You two look like you can handle yourselves, though" said the heavyset sailor, coming over to them. "Name's Atlas." He extended a large hand.
"Drevor," said Salim, taking the hand. "Yeah, we've been in a brawl or two."
"Or twenty, I'd guess," replied Atlas."You know how to use that?" he nodded towards the sword on 'Drevor.' Salim only gave a curt nod.
('Black Sails' representing the pirates on the commandeered ship)
Here's another scene of Zenobia using her alias Lydia, now on the commandeered ship after being boarded by the Romans.
"I am captain of the ship. Lydia, however, is the matron of the harlots," he added gesturing to Zenobia...
A solider came up from below deck and made a report to the Roman captain that Zenobia could not understand. "Any sign of contraband?" he asked in Latin. The solider shook his head. He turned back to Lydia and asked in Greek, "You could, I suppose, demonstrate your singing and dancing skills?"
(By the ships at TI in Vegas with book one in hand, Zenobia - Birth of a Legend.)
The next alias Zenobia uses is a critical one. The man she will need to fool is lethal. He knows Zenobia and so that makes Zenobia's deception as a servant girl even more dangerous.
A week later Zenobia had transformed into Azara, the beautiful and seductive servant girl of Saladir. All of the other preparations were complete, and Saladir's caravan departed for Egypt...
She was now disguised as Azara, and so she would remain until her mission was completed.
If you're struggling with using aliases in your writing we hope these examples will help. Check back often as we have more Writing Questions to come.
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