S asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 6 months ago

Is it possible for a character's name to be nothing but blank space? Like literally "nothing" and still count as a "name"?

I'm writing a story and I've noticed that when most people write characters that have no names or names that reflect on their nothingness, it's usually a title or a name that means "nothing", "unknown" etc.

I believe that you can't make a nameless character if they are referred to by a name with that meaning or a title that references this because it goes against that nature, so I was thinking of a character's "name" being nothing but blank space. Not redacted text like (██████) or text like ______, —— or **** but as literally:

It's a "name" but unable to said, can't be written and also a paradox because it's both a name and not since it's pure "nothingness". It can't even be called nothing because nothing is descriptive as something being absent, but is just... there, as is. Can't be anything.

Is there anything like this that has been done before? Just using "blank space" as a "name"? Is it too confusing to do or does it come across as edgy?

Update:

I forgot to mention this, but the blank itself wouldn't be referenced a lot in conversation or anything; the blank is the character's "true name". They go by many nicknames, but the real name being a blank space reflects on their true nature: while they can be referred to as anything, ultimately they are "nothing", not even possessing a name nor a title. They're not human either (think eldritch abomination.)

Nevertheless I appreciate all the responses and opinions!

14 Answers

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  • 6 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    I don't know whether it's been done before or not, but I can't think of any compelling reason why it couldn't work. It would have to be a certain fixed length, of course.

    You mean, like "Ponto and ....... set off for the mountains, full of high hopes. Ponto led the mule, and ....... walked ahead of him, scanning the horizon."

    Sorry: in draft there were blank spaces for the other name, but when posted, the spaces disappeared so I've had to supply dotted lines. I know that's not what you meant.

    Many readers might find it irritating, but personally I find it an interesting concept. But it would become less interesting the more you had to explain it to your readers: You would have to put the idea over briefly and succinctly right at the beginning (far more briefly than you explained it here) and I don't know quite how you could do that.

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  • SRB101
    Lv 5
    6 months ago

    Well, for what it's worth, none of the deities in the Cthulhu mythos have pronounceable names, since the human mouth is incapable of making the correct sounds. That certainly didn't stop H.P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu short novel or any of its spinoffs.

    • S6 months agoReport

      True, and I thought of that actually, but I kinda wanted to make it truly unique rather than a garbled word. Just trying to imagine how a blank itself is somehow a name and "pronounceable" yet not felt a little more disturbing and fitting since it's truly silent and completely absent of anything.

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  • 6 months ago

    if i am not mistaken i belaeve H.G.Well did that in The TIme Machine.. the time traveler never has a name and the people he tells his tale to are called blank and dash

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  • Logan
    Lv 5
    6 months ago

    I think it'd just get annoying and I wouldn't bother trying to read the story at all. As far as it'd look on the page there'd just be a bunch of triple spaces which wouldn't make sense because you don't have a word where the name would be.

    Other people would just name the character themselves to fill in the blank.

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  • 6 months ago

    Too gimmicky. I would recommend not doing it. It would also be a distraction or annoyance when reading.

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  • 6 months ago

    I find it self-defeating. The blank would still act as a marker, same as "nobody" or "no one", there wouldn't be any real difference, except it would be more annoying to read. I wouldn't call it edgy, more unnecessary, and like Cogito, I find it pretentious.

    I think there are better ways to work around not having a name/marker.

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  • Cogito
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    It's possible, but ultimately pointless.

    It would just make you, the writer, seem pretentious and immature.

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  • Tony B
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Why would you want to do that?

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    I think it would be a difficult concept to make intelligable in writing, and you would have to address the issue of other characters interacting with ths nameless character. Would they somehow "pronounce" blank text when directly addressing them, or would they use a euphamism or nick name of some sort? Its certainly an intriguing concept, but very difficult to put in to practice

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  • Satan
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Well Prince changed his name to a unpronouncable symbol, and people just ended up calling him "Squiggle"

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