Gimmick

During this last rewrite, it occurred to me that I’ve been seeing the name of my protagonist–Lexi–all over the place. This same thing happened to me with each of my kids, but of course with an actual person you are committed to your original choice, what with the birth certificate and embossed baby book and all. However, a fictional character is different. Prior to publication, the character’s name can be changed (and the book title too, as I am discovering) and no one’s the wiser.

Also, in choosing the name Lexi I had neglected to work the name angle. There should be an element of manipulation involved in naming a character, in that as a writer you are constantly trying to bend the reader’s experience to your will–and any gimmick is fair game. I’m not above subliminal trickery (and Joe has a terrific post up to illustrate some cases of authorial conniving), though I have to say, I prefer a fairly straightforward name. It should indicate an ethnicity, a place and generation, and perhaps a twist of personality that might not be clear until you get further into the story and understand who you’re dealing with.

I’m not going to tell you who Lexi Martin has become. Let’s just say her new name is darker, a little more witchy, and a lot more her. 

Have you made a last minute name change to any of your characters? What made you do it?

Photograph by Hedi Slimane

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