My Biggest Editing Problem

I recently received the edits back on my coming Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Bears With Us.

The biggest errors in the book had to do with people's names--names of new characters created for this particular mystery.

In one case I had two different spellings.

In two other cases, I started out with one name for characters and changed it mid-stream. I was horrified that I made such dumb errors. Yes, I write down characters names along with their physical characteristics and back ground stories, but obviously I relied on my memory and my memory failed me.

What is even more frustrating is I read this complete manuscript to my critique group and none of them caught any of these mistakes either.

One name was Nora and I changed it to Vera. The problem with doing a Find and Replace is when I did that, every word that had vera in it like several and overall suddenly had nora in the the middle of the word. I had to find and fix each one. One thing I found out was that I overused the word several and used different words for a few.

Chance and Chase was another. I figured if I made all the names Chance there wouldn't be as many problems with the changes as there might be with chase, since what I wrote is a mystery. I was wrong, I used chance a lot and when I did the search and replace every chance that wasn't a name now began with a capital C. Once again, I went through the whole manuscript and made the changes one by one.

Let this be a warning to you, Find and Replace doesn't always work the way you want it to.

From now on, I'll check on my new characters' names every time I use them, so I don't do this again.



Oops, and it came back with yet another problem, the time line was a bit out of whack. I think I fixed it, or at least hope I did. I do keep track, but somehow I messed up.

~Heidi~ said…
When doing find/replace for something like a proper noun, click on the little box that says "Match case" (you may have to click on the "more" button on the find/replace menu). Then in the find box, write "Vera" with a capital. That keeps it from replacing "vera" inside words.

I can't tell you how many times I have screwed up a manuscript worse than it was by doing find replace. :)

Yay for editors!
Jackie Vick said…
I've done the same thing. Not hard to do. My biggest name problem is characters all starting with "M". I must have a thing for "M".

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