So let's say you have a character, and that character has a name. At some point within your story, you're going to have to introduce this name to the reader. Your characters' names are a very important part of distinguishing who is doing what within the story. Before we really get to know these characters, we simply need to know who they are. Each character should be clearly identified before you get too in depth with the story. And each time a new character comes along, we should be given their name as soon as possible.
Ok, I realize this sounds like a no-brainer, and most of the time this will be pretty easy to do. But there are some things that could complicate it, and there are also ways to have fun with it.
How you go about writing your story will have an impact on where and how you'll need to introduce your main character's name. If you're writing in third person, it will most likely be very straightforward: "Bobby walked into the classroom." There--you've stated the name and introduced your character. If you're writing in first person, however, it may not be so simple. Just having a sentence within the narrative that says, "My name is Bobby," will most likely feel awkward to the reader.
Using dialogue is an easy and natural way to introduce any character's name. Maybe another character will call out your first person narrator by name. Maybe he'll need to introduce himself to someone. This will also work when you meet other characters along the way. If your narrator already knows a character, he could use their name when saying hello. If he doesn't know this person, then they can introduce themselves to each other.
FUN TIP/ WHAT I'VE DONE (yes, both!): Keep your main character's name a secret until an important moment occurs, such as when when your love interests meet (I love doing this!). That way the reader gets to learn both characters' names at the same time. Here's how my two characters meet in Uneven Lines, and it's the first time I used each of their names:
“Hi. Jordan?” He smiled, looking down at the floor and then back at me. I was done for. I was probably drooling. “I’m Tom. Your geometry tutor?”Oh, right. Say something. “Hi,” I finally managed to choke, but I sounded like a frog croaking.
This is actually not the first time that I've saved the first person narrator's name for the moment when he/she meets the love interest. I just think it's a fun, cute way to introduce your characters. :)
Do you find introducing your characters' names easy or a bit more difficult? How do you usually introduce a first person narrator?