Not everyone loves me.

amazedHard to believe, isn’t it?

Most of the feedback I’m getting from A Bother of Bodies is positive, some even very enthusiastic, but I’ve had a couple of people complain about the same thing; name confusion.

Mabel, due to her unorthodox upbringing, knows some pretty shady characters, and tends to address them by nicknames. Shady characters also like to use aliases, so one person could have a variety of names. Bernard Goosenhammer could be known as Goosie to his friends, Basil Gottenburg to his marks, Bubblehead to his enemies, and Sweetie to his mother.

All that can be confusing.

So I’m determined not to do the same with A Devotion of Dads. Use one name only. Either the nickname consistently throughout the book, or their real name. But by the time I received this feedback, the first draft of ADOD was done, and nicknames were running amok in it.

No problem. Word has a Find and Replace feature, I’ll simply input “DD” as the find (short for Dusk-to-Dawna due to her insatiable sexual appetite), and replace all of them with Dawna. Also, Christine, Mabel’s boss at Security International, is called Kick Ass behind her back, and I even shortened it to KA so I’ve taken one name and attributed two nicknames to it. No wonder I confuse readers. But, again, no problem. I know how to fix it. Find all the DD’s, replace them with Dawna. Find all the KA’s, replace them with Christine. Simple, right?


Now, whenever a character ‘nodded’ it was turned into ‘noDawnaed’. ‘Added’ was ‘ADawnaed” and ‘okay’ was now ‘OChristiney’. You get the drift. Word took all the dd’s and ka’s, not just the capitalized DD’s and KA’s, and turned my whole manuscript into a soDawnaing mess.

I haven’t even tried to correct it. I’ll put it away for a couple of weeks, and then during my first rewrite, when I have more patience, I’ll correct them manually. And curse Word each time. To this day, I still don’t understand what keys I hit when suddenly my keyboard wants to type hieroglyphics.

There’s a meme going around Pinterest and it goes something like this; when women go for a drink they call each other Marlene, Val, and Linda. When guys go for a drink they call each other Meathead, Flipper (R.I.P. Phil), and Dickhead. The meme also states that when the bill comes the guys will throw in twenty bucks each and call it even. Women will get their calculators out.

gated community

This picture has nothing to do with anything. I just think it’s funny. And a good warning.

For those signed up for my newsletter, I sent one out today. April is a busy month for me, I have a flash coming out April 17 at Every Day Fiction. The book club at the Public Library is reading ABOB and have asked me to stop in and talk about the writing process. I’ve posted the query letter I’m sending out to agents and have asked for some feedback on it. Going to a Thessalon workshop on the 25th. Busy, busy. Sign up for my newsletter, it’s on your right in the sidebar, if you’re interested in more details and links to the events.

And if anyone knows the correct way to use Find and Replace in Word, I’d love to hear from you.





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39 Responses to Not everyone loves me.

  1. Danielle says:

    Huh? No. If you’re entering “DD” in the find dialog box, that’s what Word is looking for. “DD”. Literally. :-) It doesn’t care if your d’s are upper or lower case unless you tell it to care by indicating ‘Match Case’.

    If you want to replace Dusk-to-Dawna with Dawna, then you need to enter Dusk-to-Dawna in the find section and Dawna in the replace section.

    • ajcap says:

      Thanks, Danielle, and good to hear from you! I’m going to get right on it today some time. Eventually. Rewrites are hard to get into for me, but once I start, I’m fine. How’s your book 2 going? Well, why don’t I just go and check out your blog…

  2. Barb Taub says:

    Space might be the final frontier, but it’s also your friend here. There is almost always a space before and after a name so all you need to do is include them in your F&R. Then repeat but with an apostrophe-s for the times you have the name as a possessive.

    • ajcap says:

      I knew you guys would come through! Thank you very much, I’ll get right on that. Well, after breakfast. Don’t want to rush into things. Cheers, Barb!

  3. Oh, yes. Been there. But at least mass errors can be mass fixed.

  4. W.R. Gingell says:

    Grrr. Aarrgh!

    I did this, too! IT WAS SO FRUSTRATING! I love Word, and I didn’t think it would hurt me like that!

  5. Yep. Been here, done that. I checked it out first and didn’t save so the mess was easily fixed – for me. I guess you saved before you looked??? Ouch. Nice blog!

    • ajcap says:

      Now that is smart thinking. I should have checked but no, I blithely hit the save button. Didn’t even notice until I printed it off (I’m cringing here. Not only did I not check before saving, I printed the darn thing off, all 300 and some pages) in preparation for rewrites.

      I’ll certainly know better next time. Thanks for stopping by Donna, and glad you liked my blog. Cheers!

  6. Ha! In one novel I changed a freighter from an oil freighter to a grain freighter. Then I found that Word had changed “oil paintings” to “grain paintings”!

    Your picture reminds me of my dh’s joke. “Definition of a penitentiary: an exclusive, gated community for the legally challenged.”

    — Barb, visiting from JR’s blog

    • ajcap says:

      It’s visiting day!

      Too funny. Darn that fickle Word, but on the upside, it is kind of funny, later, to see what the elves have done. But I have to ask…what’s a dh? You have your own designated hitter?

  7. Lisa B says:

    So many funnies. I did the same when I changed one character’s name from Nate to Patrick. Procrastipatrick anyone? But, like Donna, I didn’t save. I continued working on the document and saw what had happened! And yes, like that “gated community” doubletake.

    • ajcap says:

      Oh sure, I can laugh about it now, but I swore a multi-coloured streak when I first realized what I’d done.
      ‘Procrastipatrick’ LOL, but it is comforting to know I don’t suffer alone. And yes, check before saving. Always from now on.
      Thanks for visiting, Lisa!

  8. Jed Cullan says:

    Just popping over from Janet Reid’s blog. I tend to always save different versions of drafts, just in case I need to revert to a previous one at some point.

    • ajcap says:

      Jed, thank’s for visiting!

      I end up with a few different versions as well, only this time it was my best and latest version so I can’t get around it, I’ll have to Find and Replace again. Which is really the least of my problems with this book. Sigh.

  9. AJ Blythe says:

    Oh, I’m sure everyone has done that, right. Right? Sad to say, I’ve done it more than once. But I’m getting better at thinking before ‘find and replacing’.

    Stopping by from QOTKU blog :)

    • ajcap says:

      It’s so good to know I’m not the only silly…er…unfortunate one to do this.
      Bless QOTKU for her suggestion, it’s been fun AND informative checking out the blogs of her woodland creatures. Thanks for stopping in, Anita.

  10. Danielle says:


    In Windows, you can use ctrl + z and it will undo each change, even after you’ve saved it.

    My second book is going slowly. Too much going on over the past year. It should get better in a couple of months. Thanks for asking. :-) By the way, good luck in your agent search.

    • Danielle says:

      Another note: Word has to still be open during the session in which you made the changes and saved. Once you close Word and re-open your document, the ctrl + z will not work. Just an FYI for future reference. :-)

    • ajcap says:

      Get out of town! Even after you’ve saved it? Wow. The things you learn. Thanks, Danielle!

      Get motivated on that second book…keep it going! If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know. I understand what you’re going through, both in time constraints and motivation. I want ADOD to be better than ABOB so I’m nit-picking. Get the damn thing done, give it to the beta readers.

      • Danielle says:

        Thanks for the offer. I’ll get it done. School will be out in a couple of months. No more homework! My day job will have calmed down somewhat. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

        I know what you mean about wanting the sequel to be better.

        • ajcap says:

          We writers put so much pressure on ourselves, sometimes we handcuff our motivation to a brick wall. I believe A Devotion of Dads will be better than ABOB, but still not my best. From what I’ve read about other authors, that happens, on average, around book 5. Seems like a long way to go…

  11. Dena Pawling says:

    I use the space before/after trick for the first pass, then I usually do a search-only for the word and hand-accept or decline. Takes longer but works for me. And I resolve the multi-name issue by not having so many named characters in my story. I get lost with too many characters, even if they’re only called by one name in the book.

    Love this post tho! I can relate to so much of it.

    • ajcap says:

      I totally agree about too many characters, Dena. I understand authors want to keep you guessing about who is the bad guy but it’s hard to sympathize or identify with all of them.

      I also should have mentioned in my blog that one reader complained the fight scene didn’t sound like something I’d do. I explained even though “I” is used throughout the book, it’s not about me. It’s about Mabel. Made me laugh.

      Thanks for visiting, Dena, and glad you liked the post.

  12. Celia says:

    Word Guru to the rescue! When you open the Find and Replace function, there’s a little box at the bottom that says More>>. If you click it you find two very useful options: Match Case (meaning it won’t treat dd the same as DD), and Find whole words only (which means it will ignore NODDED). These tricks are very helpful! I discovered them after long hours of chanting my favorite mantra: I HATE WORD. But they work.

    Stopping by from QOTKU’s blog. Hi!

    • ajcap says:

      Word is a beast, Celia, but a beast I’ve come to know. A couple of months ago I bought Scrivener. Now there’s a mammoth. It all comes down to taking the time to learn the idiosyncrasies of each but I’ve learned so much of Word over the years, it’s my go-to program.

      Playing with this stuff takes away from getting the next book done and polished. I should take an on-line course on Scrivener though, so it’s not a waste of money.

      Thanks for stopping by, Celia, I’ll check out the little box when I go to correct ADOD. Blah. So much work to be done.

      • Danielle says:

        I love Scrivener. It’s what I use for my novels. I also added a short story I’d already written in Word to it. I’m writing book 2 and 3 in Scrivener, too.

        • ajcap says:

          I may have to send you an email or two, Danielle. I get stuck on it sometimes.

          • Danielle says:

            Feel free. I just used it to save several web pages in my project research folder. Sometimes I take my laptop to work and need to look up something that I’ve saved when doing research online at home. I’d rather not look up some of the things I need to research while I’m using my work computer. :-)

            I’m no Scrivener expert, but I’m managing. I have the Dummies book by Gwen Hernandez (I think that’s her name.), but I find the screenshots too small. I’m sure there are features I’m not using. I also printed out the application user manual, but only look at it when I’m stuck on something I REALLY want to do.

          • ajcap says:

            I’ll give Scrivener another shot when it’s time for book 3, A Faith of Friends. So expect a flurry of emails sometime around October. :)

  13. JEN Garrett says:

    Stopping by from QOTKU… I don’t think I’ve ever done that one – but I have had many, many, autocorrect nightmares with Word. “NO! I didn’t want that.” I yell at the app. But it ignores me.

    Match Case, and using the space key are good suggestions for next time. As well as saving drafts before edit passes.

    I wonder if Scrivener users have this problem.

    • JEN Garrett says:

      My link didn’t work, so I’m putting in the correct one. ~JEN Garrett

    • ajcap says:

      I was just saying to Celia, Jen, that I bought Scrivener a couple of months ago but, other than the bulletin board I use as a story board, I’m not using the program to it’s full capacity. Taking the time to learn it takes away from time on the book. But I will, eventually.

      Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment, Jen. Great idea by our Queen.

  14. KD James says:

    This made me laugh, AJ. Word is so amazing when it works, so frustrating when it has a mind of its own. Hope it’s not too much trouble to sort it out. I love the title of your book. A “Bother” of Bodies hints at a wry sense of humour.

    This has been very enlightening, following all these links from JR’s blog and finding new-to-me writers. I’ll never keep you all straight in my head, but it’s been fun.

    • ajcap says:

      I worried about that title, KD, in case it sounded silly. And not everyone understood what ‘a bother’ meant. Too British, I guess, but Ken the Publisher didn’t have an issue with it so I left it, and since the series depends on alliteration, what choices did I have? A Burlesque of Bodies? A Bevy of Bodies? A Burden of Bodies?

      Wait. Kind of like that one.

      It has been fun following the links, and no, I doubt I’ll keep everyone straight for awhile, either, but I plan on sticking with it until I do :)

      Thanks for visiting and commenting, KD!

  15. Hey AJ,

    I’m sure you can get away with multiple names for a character or two (although maybe not everyone). There are many examples. The first that comes to mind is Frank Herbert’s Dune, where everyone had a name and a title, but some characters, such as Paul, had three or more names (Paul Atriedes, Maud’Dib, Usul, the Kwisatz Haderach, and his every changing titles).

    The trick is to have the introduction of a second or third name be memorable (In Paul’s case, each represented a step on his journey).

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