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I misspelled a character's name.  My beta readers didn't find the error.  My editor didn't find the error.  A reader did.

(ouch)

When reading a manuscript, it's very easy to read a character's name as a "chunk" instead of individual letters.

Pheobe (incorrect) was read just like Phoebe. 

I've fixed the problem now, and will always add the character's name to Spell Check's dictionary, but...

Just a caution.  :)
 

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I had this happen in the very last round of editing I did (and trust me, I did about 50!) for my novel. My betas never found it, my editor never found it and I didn't see it until it was almost too late! It was a very minor character and both spellings of the name are acceptable, but I'm sure someone would've noticed.
 

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Adding the character name to the spell check is a good tip.

But I once changed a character's name halfway through the story.  "Emma" somehow became "Bella".  How embarrassing. Luckily I spotted it before anyone read it!
 

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Excellent advice.

I had a difficult time making sure that character Ivy was capitalized when referring to her name, and ivy when referring to the generic plant species. Another character was problematic as well. Her name is Shayde. Had to be sure that every occurrence was Shayde and not misspelled, but also had to ensure that the word shade wasn't replaced with character's name.

Tedious, but worth the time spent.
 

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mashadutoit said:
But I once changed a character's name halfway through the story.
<<<groan>>> In my last novel I was having a terrible time coming up with a name for my incarnation-of-evil bad guy! He went from Morris to Preston to Edgar to, finally, Sinclair. Luckily my beta readers said "who the he!! are all these guys???" Luckily we caught them all.
 

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Kathleen Valentine said:
<<<groan>>> In my last novel I was having a terrible time coming up with a name for my incarnation-of-evil bad guy! He went from Morris to Preston to Edgar to, finally, Sinclair. Luckily my beta readers said "who the he!! are all these guys???" Luckily we caught them all.
Ha! How confusing.

I once read a spoof of a badly written story, where the character's names changed with every sentence. Also there were lots of "suddenlys" (how do you spell the plural of "suddenly"? Is there even such a thing?) Several in every sentence, in fact.
 

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Ha! This is too funny. I just found my Carolyn had turned to Caroline half-way through my lastest WIP. Thought I was the only one. PJ
 

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I have a different issue with names. In my supercar books I write about a lot of real people I knew back then, but change their names in the stories for reasons of privacy and others. This means I basically make up new names for these folks.

I originally published these stories on my web site, then recently began polishing them up and publishing them as ebooks.

During the conversion process I discovered that in one instance I'd inadvertently used the same false name twice-- for two different people (in two different stories). Ouch! Luckily this wasn't for any of the most important characters (and the mistake will not appear in any of the ebooks), but still I was chagrined to find the error.
 

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It is pretty easy for me in one of my short stories. All the guys in the bar in this story about eDating are called Dave. Depressive Dave, Taxi Dave, Ohio Dave etc.

 

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I found the name of the 'victim' in my book wandered from Straker, in Doyle's original work on which mine is based, to Striker, then Strycker in my 13,000 words. Will have to go through carefully and ensure just one spelling throughout, then upload a revised version.
 

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Yeah I had a Sergei turn into a Sergio, my editor actually changed it, but I missed it on the final read through! Doh ;-(

She also changed my DCI into a Supt but I caught that. She's no longer my editor I hasten to add. ;-)
 

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aaronpolson said:
I misspelled a character's name. My beta readers didn't find the error. My editor didn't find the error. A reader did.
I did the same thing. Twice I called my heroine "Pricilla" instead of "Drucilla", which is a pretty bad slip-up. Know who was the first to catch it after the book was published? My Mom. ;)
 

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I've had this happen to me. There was one character I just couldn't find a name that seemed to fit, so I was changing it every so often. Not much of a problem when you have a global search and replace ... but there were a couple places where other characters referred to the name change character with a nickname based from one of the names. Global replace can't change that. So my final name change was to revert the name back to what it was and stop messing with it.
 

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This is my worst nightmare. Misspelling a character's name. You read it SO many times during editing that in your mind it just always starts to look right. I had quite a few instances of "Jackson" being spelled "Jakcson" for some reason. My fingers just always wanted to get ahead with that name for some reason.

Michael
 

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Global find-replace (usually on a name) has caused many a mishmash :). Like if you find-replace the name Lem to be Lon. Because I'm sure you'd all agree Lon is an infinitely superior name to Lem. But after the F/R, you also get lonons instead of lemons, problons instead of problems, and so on and so forth.
 

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I did this too!  And I caught it myself after the editor didn't!  :eek:

When I am working on someone else's MS, I always write the character names as I go so I can check them as I go.  It's an easy mistake to make.
 

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My problem with character names are unique as I use a combination Wade-Giles and pin-yin Chinese transliteration for the ease of my readers. Therefore, I sometimes switch 'em out and Xin Chung, accidentally becomes Hsin Jung. I keep to the apostrophe for hard consonants in both Chinese transliteration and names, so Dung-xi, becomes Tung-xi, and Tung-shr, becomes T'ung-shr. Therefore, I have a huge challenge to assure that the character names are consistent - so much so, that my editor is on the constant look out for these inconsistencies (she's not Chinese).

I must admit I never have these problems in my other books where I also depend on Katie Der Kindlespreche (text 2 speech) to catch misspelled character names also. The Kindle voice sometimes makes a mess of Chinese names.

Edward C. Patterson
 
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