I changed some character names in my novel…my completed novel. Most notably: my protagonist. I think that rarely happens to an author this late in the game. You build a rapport with characters and identify with them based on their name. Changing it alters the character in some fashion. It just does. (And it’s not just me)
Besides, I swore up, down and sideways that I would never do it. She’s had that name since the beginning and that’s what it would be. Period. Nothing else would sound right. It didn’t matter that we shared the same name. It didn’t. I meant it. I would just chose a pen name. Death to anyone who suggested otherwise.
Ironically, it was in starting this blog that push finally came to shove.
I’d already chosen my pen name, but my husband thought I should spell it out instead of using an initial. I worried that my book wouldn’t appeal to male readers based on my name alone. He argued that JK Rowling and
Stephenie Meyer a few others changed that stereotype. Women can write fantasy – and be darn good at it.
We also went round and round on the whole author/character-same-name debate. Did anyone care that Jane Austen wrote about Jane Bennett? Alright, fine, so what if it wasn’t her protagonist. I thought it would be okay for the few people who knew me. Everyone else could deal. Hopefully, if/when the truth came out, my plethora of fans would already love the book so much they wouldn’t care.
But now I was beginning to build my online presence, and the very people I could send to my blog already knew ME. It might have been different had I already had a book out, but I don’t.
The final nail in the coffin came from my cousin’s response. “It is a bit distracting… I find myself wondering if the character is at all an autobiographical response/fantasy life of the author.”
THAT is a violation of writing rule #1 “Never remind the reader that they are reading.”
So, while this story is autobiographical on a metaphysical level (if that’s possible), I have a much better chance that my readers will enjoy the story more if they aren’t worried about that. Egomaniac, I am not. Much.