Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rachael is Bad at Names

Oh, my god. Sophie's post yesterday has inspired me. I'd lost sight of the fact that I can name my characters ANYTHING I want. I'm the law! I'm in charge of my little town! I'm not even a deputy, I'm the sheriff, goldangit!

But . . . um. I kind of screwed up a character's name pretty badly this week. You see, I'm just about done with this book of mine, and during the writing of this first draft, I've never yet believed in my hero's name. I know his last name is Keller, and he's stuck with it, because he's the brother of someone I named in two other books.

First he was Hank. Hank Keller. I liked it. But my very smart editor's assistant (now an editor in her own right) said that she really didn't like Hank. At all. It seemed like an old man's name to her, and as she's younger than I am and knows more about that kind of thing, I took her advice.

Then I changed his name to Zach. Zachariah Keller. The problem was that in paragraphs when I talked about both Zach and his brother Jake, I couldn't tell their names apart at a quick glance. It's practically the same name if you're drunk: Zjacck.

So I changed it to Sam on a whim. I have NO IDEA why I did that. I don't like the name overmuch, and the bad guy in my first book is named Samuel (I'd forgotten that. I'm a bear of very little brain sometimes).

So this last weekend, I changed it to Charlie. Simple, strong, right? Sure. I did a find and replace of Sam with Charlie.

Then, within a second of hitting "Replace All," I thought about what I'd just done.

Every single "same" in my text was suddenly "Charliee." "Sample" turned to "Charlieple."

I was in Scrivener, not Word, but I hit Cntrl Z anyway, hoping for the best -- it didn't WORK. I hit close, so maybe it wouldn't save, but damn the autosave!

I put my head on the desk and rocked it back and forth for a while. Le sigh.

Now I think I've fixed it using find and replace (again) to put "same" and "sample" back, but what if there's flotsam in there? Or jetsam? Samovars, or Sambuca? My poor copy-editor.

And you know what? After reading Sophie's post, I feel like I'm going to let myself down if I leave it Charlie. I'm off for a week of writer-speak --RWA convention in Orlando -- maybe the perfect name will come to me while I'm in the bar, drinking with friends.


Sophie Littlefield said...

oh horrors rachael - i have done that very same search-and-replace fiasco more times than i can count. yikes!! so sorry...I love the name hank. i told bob, when i was pregnant for the first time, that our baby boy would be named Henry, "Hank" for short, but that his family name would be "Buddy."

Bob said no, obviously. :)

L.G.C. Smith said...

While at conf, feed me chocolate and I will spit out names. Can't vouch for how good they'll be, but you'll get a lot.

Juliet Blackwell said...

I'm terrible at names too! Though sometimes I think of great ones, but then I think real people are named things like Jon Johnson.
And I did that find and replace trick, too, and it found the Francis in every San Francisco and changed it all to San Francesco!

Unknown said...

My heart goes out to you!!! Damn software!!!!

Julie--I knew a guy named John Johnson! His friends didn't call him JonJon, but they should have ;)

Dying to hear all the gossip when you get back from RWA.

aimalyn said...

I like Hank. It's one of those names that's making a comeback. It was on our list of baby names if this child was a boy (but we had a girl).

If you're not going to use it, how about Mike? Or John? Or Aaron? I like Aaron.

Another Joan said...

Hank works, especially if he started out as Henry. It sounds strong and manly!!! And weirdness: very dear friends are Kellers so stay awake from Will or Jake, ok?

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