I just had an OMG moment while writing book 2 of Mik Murdoch, currently titled, Mik Murdoch and the Power Within. I have been moving along quite nicely in the writing when I realized something. I had named one of my new, main female protagonists the same as one of my baddies from the first book.
That would never do! I mean, it is theoretically possible that two people will have the same name (obviously) but, with all the names in the world, should I be naming two characters the same?
Considering that one is a protagonist and the other an antagonist, I would say not. It’s much too confusing for one thing.
So I went back to the drawing board and my character now has a brand-new name.
Search and replace is a wonderful function.
But it reminded me of a faux pas I made in the first book. I discovered I had given Mik’s mother two totally different names when I was going through the proof copy of the book. Not quite the same problem but similar in nature. Simply put, I lost track of my character’s important information.
Fortunately, I am using a tool that allows me to quickly search, replace and even keep notes about things like characters, plot, settings and so on. That tool, in this case is Scrivener.
Now, before you accuse me of trying to write a commercial for Scrivener, I realize that there are other tools out there that writers use to achieve the same results as I get. You can use Wiki’s, dedicated documents and so on. I happen to use Scrivener because it allows me to put all the details and notes I want into the file without affecting the writing in any way.
So, I immediately created a section to document my characters. I’m not sure why I didn’t do this sooner. I’ve done exactly the same thing in Boyscouts of the Apocalypse. It shouldn’t have been such a discovery. When I went through the exercise, I found nine fairly major characters to put into the notes. That wasn’t even counting characters that were indirectly referenced.
That may not sound like much, but, if you had asked me minutes earlier the names of the characters in this book, I would only have given you about half of those (maybe).
Still, it is something I have seen before and I now have a way to deal with it properly. I can even take that information forward to the next book to prevent such duplication in the future. And, maybe I can use it to build a Wiki for my readers to refer to later too. Call it supplemental or additional features.
Whatever you call it, it is useful and makes my job as a writer easier.