Words on Paper

Wednesdays in the Blog Me MAYbe Blogfest are themed “May I ask you a question?” This week my question is “Have you ever renamed your characters?” I had a longer version of this post prepared (somewhat over 800 words), but decided to publish that at a later date and just write the basics today.

Characters who have undergone name changes:

Lyubov Ilyinichna Koneva (Lyuba), originally Amy Leonovna Zhukova. After Lyuba finally marries Ivan and becomes a Koneva, she also changes her patronymic from Leontiyevna to Ilyinichna, in honor of her wonderful stepfather.

Katariina Kaarelovna Kalvik-Nikonova (Katrin), originally Catherine Kaarelovna Nikona and sometimes called Cath or Cathie by Anastasiya.

Pyotr Stepanovich Litvinov, originally Peter.

Eliisabet Martovna Kutuzova, originally Elizabeth and sometimes called Liz or Lizzy.

Margarita Iosifovna Herzena (Lyuba’s aunt), originally Margaret.

Amalia (Malchen) von Hinderburg, originally Honey Gray. (Whatever.)

Julie Claire Spirnak (now Laska), originally called Karin.

Elizabeth Roblenska is kind of a special case. Her name has legally been Elizabeth since she came to America in June of 1945, but in her European scenes and the book I’m going to write focused only on her, her name is Elzbieta.

In my future third Russian novel and the as-yet-mostly-unplotted fourth volume, the names of some of Tatyana and Nikolay’s children will have to change from Yelena, Vera, and Nadezhda, since those are two of Lyuba’s dear stepsisters and her dear stepcousin. Their family also has a dear friend who lives in Toronto named Lena. I don’t like duplicating names within the same family. Way too confusing. The new names will be Kira, Lidiya, and Serafima.

3 thoughts on “Have you ever renamed your characters?

  1. I rename characters ALL THE TIME. Names have to feel right to me — whatever that means– and I try to avoid repeating the same letter too often. In my current WIP, I seem overly fond of “L” and “C”. It’s fine for the main characters to have a little overlap because their on page enough to be known and kept straight, but I do try to have minor and small characters will unique and simple sounding names so they don’t get mixed up when they only come in once or twice.

    Let’s see… Lennon Paget is actually the only name that hasn’t changed ever, from original conception to now. Vera Clarke was Vera Evans was Olivia something. Connor Lahm was Connor Finley/Findley was something completely different I don’t ever remember at all. Beyond them, the minor characters names are the ones I deliberate over for a while so that sounds and letters and syllables aren’t repeated (again, so they can be kept straight easily for the reader) but once I decide on them, they hardly ever change.

    I’m actually much worse about renaming places — schools, coffee shops, hospitals, companies, that sort of thing.

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  2. I’ve renamed characters, although for the life of me, right now I can’t recall the names. It’s been a long, long day… 😉

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