In my most recent FridayFlash, "Phil's Christmas Present", a few things changed in the various drafts as I was writing it.
One thing that changed was the names. Picking names for your characters is always hard, so I wanted to talk about this as an entry on the mechanics of writing.
As Olivia Tejeda pointed out in her excellent comment, I accidentally left a bit of an early draft in the final. Originally, the narrator was unnamed, but I decided to call him Phil. The wife started as Helen, but ended up as Ellen. The daughter began as Carolyn, but became Caroline.
What's the difference?
I wanted to give a bit of a blue-collar feel to this. The narrator's profanity in his internal monolgue did that to a certain extent. What about the wife and child? Somehow, for this setting and place, Ellen strikes me as more appropriate than Helen. It's a more common, more down-to-earth name, quite fitting for a wise woman.
And why change the spelling of the daughter's name? It also changes the pronunciation from KAH-roh-len to KAH-roh-lyen. Again, it is in keeping with the common man theme.
What do you think? Changing a character from Charles to Charlie, Chuck or Chuckie is pretty obvious. See also Elizabeth vs. Beth, Lizzy, Betsy, Bitsy, etc. But is it worth changing a character's name from Helen to Ellen, or from Carolyn to Caroline?
I think so.