I mentioned that a few days ago I decided I had to change the name of the main character of my very long novel that I’m editing. I can’t exactly explain why she had to change; she had been Ismène for over ten years… but as I worked on the novel I just realised it had to change…

People in real life do change their names – I heard of a woman called Frances who changed her name to Laurence and I always wondered not only why she chose a man’s name but whether before she changed she had anticipated all the conversations she would have for ever more about it, not only the good grief that’s an unusual name sort of comment from people who meet her for the first time but also her friends who would keep forgetting and call her Frances… maybe she wanted it, maybe she wanted people to puzzle over it and wonder. I knew someone else whose name was Sue and changed it to Adelle… that was quite difficult to remember and then people who didn’t know about the name change would refer to Sue, and no-one would know who they were referring to.

Back to Ismène… I changed her name to Emma. Apparently Emma is derived from a German word, ermen which means whole or universal, but also can be a diminutive of such names Emmeline. The name has been in England since before the Norman conquest, but recently has become very popular. Ismène on the other hand was both the sister and daughter of Oedipus…

I’ve changed the name, but I haven’t quite got used to it… Ismène is unusual, mysterious, strange whereas Emma is known, familiar, almost ordinary. The character comes into the lives of the other characters as a girlfriend of one of the family, but becomes friendly with them all and a close friend too. I’m just wondering if the impact of the character on the reader will be diminished by the name change…

In real life, do people’s characters change when they change their name? Is Laurence a different person from Frances, Adele a different person from Sue? Like most people I’m called different things by different people – the most obvious different thing is ‘Mum’ by my children, but to my family I’m Loki, to old friends Loco, to my oldest friend just Lo…

Hmmm, Ismène to Emma… I’m still not sure…

As a postscript, using a word processor makes such changes so easy! Imagine if I had to go through a whole handwritten script… I think the name change wouldn’t have happened!

If you haven’t yet read my e-books, here is a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

3 thoughts on “Changing names… more…

    • If you think how pretty and useful the herb rosemary is, it’s strange how so many people don’t like the name – my cousin has it as a second name and utterly loathes it… I don’t think, even with the fashion for ‘old’ names, Rosemary has or will make a comeback! Anyway, Rosie is much prettier and nicer – and there is the famous heroine from ‘Rosie and Jim’!!

      Liked by 1 person

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