What’s in a name? An honest Blunder

Just a quickie to let you know of a pit I have fallen into with names, not just once but twice.

In the past families have often named son after father or grandfather and it is still commonplace to name a baby after a friend you admire or someone you love. That’s all very well in real life, or if the revered persona is diseased, but in a novel you get into deep water if you fall into this trap.

Before the final proof read in Riduna I had named the father of my hero Jo but also Edward’s cousin Young Joe (I know there is a male and female issue here but in my ignorance I did not think of that at the time) Well, this was all very well when Jo the father was on the island of Riduna but Joe the cousin was on Sarnia. They were different scenes which in those days were world apart. The problem came at the end of the novel when Joe visited Riduna.(Alderney) Oh dear. Then things got very complicated indeed. In the end I solved the problem by calling Old Jo, Joseph. That was all very well but I had also confused my editor who had changed some of the Jo’s to Joe’s thinking I’d made several typing errors and so I couldn’t resort to find and replace and had to painstakingly check right through the manuscript before publication.

Now, you would have thought I would have learnt my lesson. When I was planning my next novel which is both standalone and a sequel to Riduna and I hope to have in print by the end of the year, I returned to my original characters I realised my mistake. I had thought it cute for Joe and Harriet to call their baby daughter after their good friend Sarah Mortimer back on Sarnia. This was no problem because they were in Woolston and Miss Mortimer was in Sarnia. (Guernsey) By this time baby Sarah was now married and early in the novel she visited Sarnia. Pow! A helpful friend said, ‘You can’t call her Miss Mortimer all through the story; it sounds a bit strange.

With ingenuity I came up with a solution, but you’ll have to wait to read the novel to find out how!

On a personal note my mother’s home must have been fun to live in. My mum’s name is Patricia. Her brother, whose name is really Bryan, was nicknamed Pat after his father. Strangely enough his father’s real name was Dennis, but was nicknamed Patrick because he was born on March 17th, St Patrick’s Day. The question is, when my grandma, whose name certainly wasn’t Pat, called out ‘Pat’, I wonder who responded, or maybe no one answered at all!

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Filed under Planning a novel, Proof Reading, Writing, Writing a novel

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