Friday, October 06, 2017

My character changes names, how to query?

My main character uses a fake name (let's say "Strider"). He introduces himself as Strider, and that's how most people refer to him.

Halfway through the book, he admits that his real name is something else (let's say "Aragorn"). He starts going by his real name after that.

When I'm writing my query and synopsis, and talking to my agent... how do I refer to him?

I mean, his name is Aragorn. But I don't want to write a query about "Aragorn" and then confuse people by handing them a book about "Strider."


In the query you call him the name that he uses in the first part of the book.
Lots of things change as the book unfolds; in this case your character's name is one of them.

The synopsis is a different kettle o'fish (Pail o'perch; bucket o'bass)

There you start out calling him Strider but when his name changes it's Aragorn (nee Strider.)
Nee is that clever, popular crossword clue that means "former name."

You used to see it a lot more when lady spouses almost always changed their names to that of gentlemen spouses.

(For example: Betty Buttonweezer nee Zippersneezer)

45 comments:

CynthiaMc said...

Happy Friday, Everyone! It's going to be rainy here in the Sunshine State. I plan to get a lot of writing done.

french sojourn said...


My character Felix undergoes a whole lot of personal development, and by chapter 25 Felicia (nee Felix)....nevermind.

Great question, and enlightening answer.

Bon weekend mon ami's

Cheers Hank.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

My friend, Bettywith2Ts Buttonweezer is proud that you revealed her maiden name, Zippersneezerwith2Ps&2Es. Well known among the ...weezer and ...sneezer clans she said it was true love when she switched from Zipper to Button.
This doesn't make any sense but that's okay because it's Friday.

Have a nice day boys and girls.
My real name is...

Meg Leader said...

So...for the sake of completeness, why on earth would a lady with the last name of Zippersneezer even contemplate changing her name on marriage to our beloved Mr. Buttonweezer?

I would think their kids would be proud to honor their parents by being Zippersneezer-Buttonweezers. Or maybe Buttonweezer-Zippersneezers. I'm unclear on the fine points of whose name goes first in hyphenated names. But...whichever. Or maybe the girls would be Zippersneezer-Buttonweezers, and the boys Buttonweezer-Zippernseezers? It's those little details that nail me every time...

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Ah yes, the Zippersneezer-Buttonweezer divorce- a thing of legends on Carkoon.

I have a lot of assumed name stuff going on in my book. Demons don't like to reveal their true names nor do those who use them. Still battling my query even though this particular problem will not effect the query.

kathy joyce said...

I'm voting for Felix and Betty Sneezerweezer.

Colin Smith said...

Historical records that miraculously survived the Great Fire of Last Tuesday ("great fires" are a weekly event in Carkoon), going back at least twenty years, show that the Zippersneezers have a long tradition of making marriage alliances to improve their name. There was the Zippersneezer-Boogertweezer wedding of 1992 (I'm converting the dates to Earth-relative), the Zippersneezer-Ebeneezer wedding of 1994, the Zippersneezer-Bottombreezer wedding of 2002, and the Zippersneezer-Coodentpleezer wedding of 2006 that, sadly, lasted only a few months. These just to name a few.

:)

Joyce Tremel said...

This whole thread makes me laugh!

Amy Schaefer said...

Né for males, née for females. Because someone had to be that guy.

Colin Smith said...

Amy: Yeah... in every group, there's always at least one né-sayer... ;)

Amy Schaefer said...

Oh, Colin.

Janet Reid said...

I'm so glad you're having fun with Mrs. Buttonweezer's maiden name. When I wrote that I laughed out loud and I've been waiting for two whole days to see if you guyz thought it was funny.

(All too often, I am my own best audience)

And Amy feeding those straight lines to Colin...well, it's a five point penalty.

Sherry Howard said...

PREDICTION: When JR retires from shark performing, she will write The Journals of the Duchess of Yowl, The Carkoon Chronicles, and The Buttonweezer-Zippersneezer Family Saga.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Zippersneezer-Coodentpleezer? Haha!

Amy Schaefer said...

Janet, I humbly accept all blame, and am recaffeinating as as I type to stave off future mishaps.

But I suspect, in the case of Colin + punnery, where there's a will, there's a way.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Of course it's né for men. No man likes getting a née in between his...

...names.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Of course it's né for men. No man likes getting a née in between his...

...names.

Andrea St. Amand said...

You know it's going to be a great day when one of the first words you read is Zippersneezer. hahaha - thank you, Janet!

Andrea St. Amand said...

Oh, geez, and Colin . . . I give tours here in Charleston and tell kids to find the Enchanted Wishing Well and stand in the bottom of it. That Well now has a string of new names.

John Davis Frain said...

If Zippersneezer ever appeared in a crossword (hello, Saturday), I think I'd stop right there are save myself the next four hours of frustration.

I'll wait for Monday when "Former name" and NEE show up. More my speed.

The most common crossword clue, because I'm sure you're wondering: Jai ____.

Because how else would you clue ALAI, where you get all those nice vowels in a word.

Casey Karp said...

JDF "Half of the owner of an eponymous lamp"?

Amy "That guy"? Is there something misleading about your name you forgot to tell us? (I do wonder from time to time how many agents think "Casey" is a female name, as most of my elementary school classmates did.)

My name is Inigo Zippersneezer. You killed my pseudonym. Prepare to diet.

kathy joyce said...

Friends, This is the problem with America today. Everyone focuses on parents and no one thinks about the kids. Let me introduce you to Felix and Betty's brood. (The parents not able to decide which last name to use, the children's last name is a bastardized version of both. As I said earlier, Sneezerweezer). So, meet the:
-oldest, Geezer Sneezerweezer
-one who loves dairy products, Cheeser
-next child, who's unfriendly, Freezer
-middle child, Pleaser
-one who loves salad, Caesar
-the baby, a troublemaker, Teaser Sneezerweezer.

They're all lovely children, except for green teeth (all that kale). They do get a little perturbed when guests arrive. Felix and Betty tell them to enjoy the company, but the kids complain, "They're just not punny."

Melanie Savransky said...

(To piggyback on Kathy's Sneezerweezer family tree . . .)

Betty was a Zippersneezer
'Til she wed a Buttonweezer
But, since children liked to tease her,
Kids answer to Sneezerweezer
('Cept her youngest little nipper
Only goes by Buttonzipper).
Her maiden name her family shuns--
Will Zippers finally come undone?

I'll . . . I'll show myself out.

Claire Bobrow said...

The thread today is cracking me up :-)

Felix tried so hard to please her - Betty “Ice Queen” Zippersneezer -
Carkoon squeeze and epic teaser, Cleopatra to his Caesar.
An epic quest would surely seize her!
Could he pick the kale by tweezer?
Felix tried so hard to please her –
but found his heart stuck in the freezer.

With the kale.



Colin Smith said...

kathy: You forgot Uncle Cleevis Pimpelsqueezer. He was often spotted at family reunions... ;)

Colin Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin Smith said...

Casey: Amy was using "guy" in the gender-neutral sense. So, when she says she was being that guy, she didn't mean that guy... yes? No?

Janet Reid said...

Guy (singular) and guyz (plural) are gender neutral these days.

That guy is thus gender neutral.

Guys is plural for more than one man.
For singular man, please see Felix Buttonweezer.

Colin Smith said...

A very singular man. Indeed, the Buttonweezers and their variants have a long and illustrious history on Carkoon, going back to the days of Fulehardie Butonwezer, back in the pre-spelling days of exploration. Oh, the tales one could tell...

Have you noticed it's Friday? ;)

Julie Weathers said...

Totally, totally off topic. But, the game company I write for, Raincrow Studios game Covens was named one of the finalists at the Google Indie Games Festival recently.

I did more work on the Vampire Tribunals game which will be re-released next year, but I have a small bit in Covens also.

Travis, the CEO of Raincrow is the one who encouraged me to write The Rain Crow. The base story of The Vampire Tribunals starts with a Union captain in the Civil War whose men drown a Confederate woman in a horse trough when she accidentally shoots him. He is wracked by grief and guilt and quits the army, eventually agreeing to guide an odd group of people over the Appalachians. This is where my writing comes in. I write some of the characters and the story for this journey and some of the quests.

Anyway, I was very excited to see things finally paying off for this project we have worked so long on.

Now, if we can just keep the gremlins away. Two server crashes caused a lot of problems and one-star reviews, which is killing the game. If you think those bad reviews on books hurt, wait until you get into gaming where they analyze everything and can boot your game if the ratings drop too much.

Janet, feel free to delete this if it isn't appropriate.

Re the nee: Does anyone remember Hee-Haw and Charlie Farquharson of KORN radio? Well, that's sort of the way small town newspapers are.

Killdeer had a newspaper that came out once a week. So women from the surrounding small towns would send in the "news" to put in the newspaper. Grassy Butte, Dunn Center, Zap, Glen Ullin, Halliday, etc. all had their little old ladies busily reporting and everyone waited anxiously to read what was going on in scenic western North Dakota.

"Joyce Bickerly (Nee Johanson) took a tractor tire in to Watford Wednesday to get it repaired and while she was in town joined her mother Emily Johanson (Nee Subernik) for lunch. They dined at Thelma Hoven's (Nee Kubichek) who had prepared a lovely King Ranch casserole accompanied by fresh salad from Thelma's garden and finished with rhubarb pie, which has always been Joyce's favorite. A good time was had by all. Joyce left two pints of fresh chokecherry jelly she'd just canned. Chokecherries and bullberries are particularly plentiful on the Little Missouri this year, she says

It doesn't matter how long they've been married, the fastidious reporters always give the "Nee_____) and a good time was had by all, unless it's a funeral. That's not such a good time, but there's always a lot of good food, so it's good food was enjoyed by all.

Casey Karp said...

I guess I'm a bit out of touch. My apologies to anyone who was offended. That wasn't my intent, and I'll try to do better in the future.

Unfortunately, I'm one of those dinosaurs who feels qualms about using "they" as a singular pronoun--but paradoxically, I don't have any problem with "literally" meaning both "literally" and "figuratively".

Brains are weird.

Cherry Black said...

I always thought nee meant "born as" since it comes from the French naitre meaning "to be born." So wouldn't it not be right in the synopsis since Aragorn wasn't born as Strider, he was using it as a pseudonym?

Colin Smith said...

Casey: I feel your pain. Having done two degrees that required academic standards of grammar and style, using the third person plural for singular grates. But it is acceptable, at least in most circles, and saves a lot of s/he-ing and his/her-ing.

Cherry: Indeed, as I understand it, you are correct on the etymology and meaning of nee. Reefers correct me if I'm wrong, but you typically use nee for birth name, and AKA for nickname or pseudonym.

How did I do on the test? :D

Steve Stubbs said...

You have to manage reader expectations. I saw a movie the other say that was set in the 1950s. (Made much later, but set in the 1950s.)

The film played an old Chuck Berry tune. After seeing the movie I felt compelled to go to Blueberry Hill.

But unlike Chuck Berry I did not find my thrill.

I did not find anything really. Just a lot of blueberries.

I felt ripped off.

Manage reader (or audience) expectations.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

OMG I just got home from work and look what all of you have been doing all day. Unfortunately every eezer out there has been used so coming up with something original is pretty impossible.

Um, BTW, don't tell Bettywith2Ts but on Carkoon she's known as being eezy.

Colin Smith said...

2Ns: Don't look at us--Janet started it! :)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Colin Smith don't blame Janet. It's your comments that had me laughing so hard I felt queezy.

Did you know that Bettywith2Ts'ez father was a man who once came from Nantucket.

That's it I'm outta here.

Colin Smith said...

2Ns: You mean the man who once came from Nantucket
Who ate all his kale from a bucket
The hardy green leaf
Would get stuck in his teeth
So he finally just had to suck it?

That the one? ;)

Lisa Bodenheim said...

I'm home again after a 2 day retreat. What a great treat this comment trail was! Ha! Thank y'all for the eddycation.

CynthiaMc said...

He married the gal from Pawtucket
Who came around with the wine bucket
Felix said "Oh, I do."
Betty said "I do too."
But as for the kale,they both chucked it.

kdjames.com said...


. . . and their cat, Rumpleteazer Sneezerweezer?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

You guyzzzz...hahahaha stop. I can't take anymore.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Have you heard about Bettywith2Ts brother Chuck E. Cheezer?

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I forget already who said it, but yeah, Aragorn, AKA Strider. Or Strider, né Aragorn, I guess? (also, has anybody noticed that "AKA" and "alias" seem to be clues/answers that the NY Times crossword puzzlers like an awful lot?)


Julie, congratulations on Covens being a finalist! I just looked it up in the Google play store: "Covens is an augmented reality game of magic and witchcraft." Well, sign me up! I've been writing some witchy thing lately, and Augmented Reality is the science fiction future I am here for.