Name Changing:

Total posts: [26]
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1 PsychoFreaX9th May 2011 12:36:28 AM from Transcended Humanity
Hey so how often do you people change your characters name as you progress through your work? From the time when you first thought them up to when you're done writing a story?
My main characters will always have their names set but I'll occasionally change the names of my minor characters for various reasons, like I realize I'm not following the One Steve Limit.

For instance, I changed a character from Elizabeth to Gwen once I remembered that a main character had that as their middle name. Ironically, Gwen ended up becoming a more important character...and kind of an example of I Let Gwen Stacy Die.
Indecisive Goldfish
Very rarely. Once I get used to calling them a name, it's not likely to change unless I've violated the One Steve Limit and I then pick who gets their names changed. And I also changed on character's name because I gender flipped them though going from Epifanio to Epifania is not a very big change when I've called the character Epifan most of the time anyway. Epifan's twin brother was renamed Ciro after I decided to out his original name of Vito onto somebody else. Those are pretty much the only name changes I've done recently.

I don't finish things often, but I have an excessive number of characters since I get bored drawing random one-offs. They'll sooner morph into different people than get name changes. My character Aurus has had the same name forever and his character has gone from a pale teenage assassin to a tanned teenage abused nobleman, to a clay golem, to a tanned assassin missing his tongue, and to an immortal boy...

Well, I don't bother a lot with meaningful names so there isn't really much reason to change the names if something changes while writing.
4 MrAHR9th May 2011 04:09:45 AM from ಠ_ಠ , Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Currently thinking of changing a name Jonny -> Jerome/Jereme or something.

Can't really get my head in the right mindset to actually do it, though.
5 LoniJay9th May 2011 04:16:48 AM from Australia , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
I do it very rarely. In fact, often my characters go without names for a long time until I've found one that suits them just right.

Occasionally, though, I have characters that split in half. Then one of them needs a new name.
Be not afraid...
6 honorius9th May 2011 04:30:30 AM from The Netherlands
I just use a generic name for them until I find a better one. It might happen that I like the generic name and keep it.
If any question why we died/
Tell them, because our fathers lied -Rudyard Kipling
Usually, characters will keep their names unless I see some sort of a reason to change them. I ended up changing the names of about five characters when I was emerging out of my anime fangirl phase in about early 2009. These characters also got a Race Lift from Japanese to overall Caucasian.

It can be hard to ease into. I'm also considering changing one of my characters from Viktor Kunstler to Adrian Kunstler, because I actually find his alias' dark-haired design preferable to Viktor's Heroic Albino design.
"Whenever I feel like I know how computers work, I go to class and leave feeling like I'm wearing my pants on my head, eating paste."
8 Ronka879th May 2011 04:32:40 AM from the mouth of madness.
Maid of Win
I do it often enough, both for mains and minor characters. I usually just put in placeholders when I'm writing and I get an idea, and then go back and change it to something that works better (rarely does the first name I pick actually work best).

Things i take into consideration when naming characters: If it sounds too similar to another character (although I once made a deliberate subversion, where the hero and villain have the same name), first name flow (too long, too curt), last name flow, first and last name together, and sometimes meaningfulness.

I also have a series of names I reuse in different stories because I like the sound of them— Theo, Ted, Myles, and J-names (Jules, Jessica, Joan, Jen, Jaye, J J J). Typically they get cut for better name later.
Thanks for the all fish!
I love V-names. However, since things have turned out with two characters who happen to have V-names being friends and colleagues, it gives me more incentive to change Viktor's name to Adrian. Having two V-name characters together a lot sounds like it would get confusing.
"Whenever I feel like I know how computers work, I go to class and leave feeling like I'm wearing my pants on my head, eating paste."
10 JewelyJ9th May 2011 07:09:12 AM from A state in the USA
I do it whenever something doesn't fit. Just yesterday someone pointed out to me that not enough of my characters in my Japanese family have Japanese first names. So I changed a few including changing a misanthropic murderer's name from Derek to Dai.

edited 9th May '11 7:09:29 AM by JewelyJ

11 LadyMomus9th May 2011 07:13:32 AM from My Own Little World
Modelland Survivor
Unless the meaning of the name is significant, I have no problem renaming characters. I often change names several times until finally settling on one I like. However, once I do find a name I like, it's normally set in stone.

Lately, I've started using placeholder names until I find a better name to replace them. (Deirdre is used for female crime victims because of its meaning. Tsubasa and Akira are used for unnamed Japanese characters because they're unisex names. Donovan is used for villains because one of my earliest stories had a villain named Donovan. Etc.)
12 annebeeche9th May 2011 08:37:31 AM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
I evidently have a thing for names that begin with the letter J, because Project One Fifty Four is full of them (Jack, Joe, Josh, "joushi-sama") and another work has a couple too (Jenny and Jamie).

If I do end up breaking the One Steve Limit, I don't even bother changing the name because it happens in real life and Uncle Tom's Cabin worked fine with it. (At least two Toms, two Sambos, and two Georges)

I only change the name if it happens to be the name of someone I knew personally and I don't like the association. (For example, I know Amy in real life, and I have a character named Amy who happens to be a sociopathic rapist)

Also: I never use placeholder names for characters. Ever. Because they stick. (I had a 21st century Danish historical reenactor who I quickly named Alaric as a placeholder, but I kept the name because I couldn't call him anything else)

edited 9th May '11 8:41:17 AM by annebeeche

Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion.
I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
I don't tend to change names unless the gender changes.

If I can't name a character I generally have them go by a nickname and play up the mystery of their real name. This only happened once.
I've never changed a single name, because I only find names for my characters when I absolutely have to, which is when I reach the part of the story that I have to write their names. Most of my characters remain unnamed to this day.
15 drunkscriblerian9th May 2011 08:37:37 PM from Castle Geekhaven , Relationship Status: In season
Street Writing Man
I almost never change the names of characters once thought up, for two reasons.

If I were to write some of the strange things that come under my eyes they would not be believed.

~Cora M. Strayer~
I've done a few name changes. Sigmund Clark used to be Clark Brians, until one day when I was playing Dungeon Crawl and I realized, "Sigmund has a really cool name." I decided then and there to do a name change. Isaac Rose was once Andrew, until I realized I had way too many "A" names. Rachel Hosseini used to be Nasrin Hosseini, until I fiddled with her timeline and had her born after her parents escaped from Iran; her parents are the sort of people who'd give their child an indistinct name to make sure she doesn't attract unwanted attention.

I don't really do Meaningful Names, so I'm not worried about changing them for whatever reason. Alice Snow's name used to be meaningful (Alice Allusion and a general winter theme), but that was a long time ago. She only keeps it now because it sounds awesome.
It's easy, mmkay?
Changed a character's name when I made the realization that I had stupidly named the Sadist Teacher after a teacher I had had a few years back, and the name wasn't common enough for Plausible Deniability.
At first I didn't realize I needed all this stuff...
18 PsychoFreaX9th May 2011 09:37:36 PM from Transcended Humanity
@Loni Jay My way is actually quite similar for a very long time. When I first created my characters I just give them the best name I could in the next minute. It's not until now that I finally decided to focus on searching the internet for the most fitting names for them and change the names of like fifty characters.
Grin and bear it
The few characters I've actually made for my original fiction I haven't changed at all (Xavier, Tobias for starters).

Since most of the stuff I do is fanfiction, I'm kinda already given first names, so I can't go about changing them.

Last names, however...Hoo boy, that's just a carousel wheel of change waiting to happen.
I have a huge list of characters I intend to use, that range in importance from the main characters to extras. I haven't bothered with a One Steve Limit (which I feel is justified since it's a realistic setting), so I've reused both first names and last names. However, I sometimes start to feel that I'm overusing a certain name. For example, I have a few characters with the last name "Haywood", but I was starting to worry about overusing it, so I changed somebody's last name to "Hendry." Similarly, I felt I was overusing "Bailey", so I changed someone's last name to "Bannister." When I change someone's name, I usually change it to a name that begins with the same letter, but not always. Also, I usually change just the first name or just the last name, but not always.
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
I think I abuse One Steve Limit to a really high degree. I even refrain from using names that are from the same family tree, like I won't even have two characters named Kir and Cyrus because they're related to each other, I won't have a Matvei and Matthias, and I won't have an Ilya and Elijah.

I'm more worried about them being confused, actually. '_'
"Whenever I feel like I know how computers work, I go to class and leave feeling like I'm wearing my pants on my head, eating paste."
22 chihuahua012th May 2011 05:31:23 AM from Standoff, USA , Relationship Status: I LOVE THIS DOCTOR!
Writer's Welcome Wagon
I had only done this a few times. Mostly because I had forgot their name, but one case was for One Steve Limit because I have one character named Joel and another character named Joseph in the same team. I changed the latter's name to Ben. However, I still have a Jacob...

I have an odd dichotomy. I find it easy to think up names for female characters, and once thought up, nearly always they get attached to the character and hard to change (although in the early planning stages I sometimes consider and maybe get as far as writing down and then rejecting a few alternatives). Male characters, however, give me much more of a problem — the work I'm writing now has a Five-Man Band (plus a Sixth Ranger) and the two males in the group, so the biggest male parts in the work, both had name changes after a good deal of the planning and outlining had already been done.

In this case, my reason for the changes was partly because I hadn't been that satisfied with my original choices, but also because I noticed that the one who ends up with the female lead, their names together would be strongly reminiscent of the lead couple in another work....
Many of my characters go through long portions of story planning and writing completely nameless. When I realize I need to name them, I make up something at random (just following world-based rules to avoid Aerith and Bob). Usually, the name's so unimportant that I'm unlikely to bother changing it - the only name-changing I do is accidentally if I forgot their name, or deliberately if I violated the One Steve Limit.
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
25 nrjxll19th May 2011 03:34:37 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
I rarely, if ever, change character names. Names aren't a big deal to me at all, so once I pick them, I tend to keep them. I don't even worry about the One Steve Limit because of my emphasis on realism - the only problem is if I have two characters with the same first and last names, at which point it just becomes too big a hassle to remember who's who.

Total posts: 26
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