Things You Don’t Think About, and The Importance of Keeping a Glossary

I’ve been working on revisions for Fighting Gravity lately. My editor suggested renaming two characters. As much as I rail against other authors when they give two main characters similar names, I’d done it myself. Twice. Funny what you don’t notice when it’s your screw up and not someone else’s.

So I decided to rename Dr. Ayers. I’d never been enamored of his name so it wasn’t going to hurt me. Much. Now, I’m not the meticulous sort. I’m prone to ‘good enough’ efforts. Normally, I’d do a find/replace by simply hitting “replace all” and hoping for the best. Surely, I thought, “Ayers” wasn’t a common letter combination.

Whatever possessed me in the moment, I instead reviewed each replacement one at a time. Did you know “ayers” can be found in “players” and “layers” and similar words. I hadn’t realized that before. Not as a specific thing to note. That would have been interesting. “PlWilliams” and “lWilliams.”

On the same subject, of renaming Dr. Ayers, I decided on, as you see above, the name “Williams.” Nice respectable name for a nice, respectable character. I decided not to go back and cross reference the glossary I did, in fact, build in the early stages. It was only when my find/replace effort came to the one place where I’d given his full name that I realized I’d nearly named a character William Williams.


I took a break, then, in case you were wondering.

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4 Responses to Things You Don’t Think About, and The Importance of Keeping a Glossary

  1. Dan Powell says:

    Had to laugh at ‘William Williams.’ I recently started a first draft of a novel I have been generating material for for over a year. It was only when I started writing that I realised by calling my father and son characters William and Benjamin, I had named them Bill and Ben. Only noticed when I wrote the sentence, ‘It had been years since Bill and Ben lived in the same house.’ I either had to change ‘house’ to flowerpot or change a character name. I changed Benjamin. The photo you have on this post pretty much sums up how I felt when I realised my error too. Thanks for sharing. Nice to know I am not alone.

  2. That’s funny! Trust me, you’re not the first to do something like that. I realized that I said my MC had third period class with my SC, but I realized throughout the manuscript, I switched it from 3rd period to 2nd period, and vice versa….SEVERAL times. I also moved on to other projects before coming back to that. 🙂

  3. The beauty of a beta reader or editor. To save us from ourselves.

    It is funny when you look back. But in the moment, when the beta reader/editor says “how can it be morning if he just came home from school?” you feel slightly stupid.

    I’m glad it’s not just me. 😉

  4. Monica B.W. says:

    LOL, this was funny! Thanks for sharing this link with me! 😀

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