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No matter how careful I am...

January 25, 2016
Posted at 5:40 pm

I cross-check names of my characters frequently. Living Next Door to Heaven has a cast of over 300 if you include everyone who is mentioned. Add that to the cast of hundreds in Model Student and all the other stories I've created. I keep a huge spreadsheet of names, the book in which they first appear, and a brief description of who the hell they are. For all the major characters, I also have their birthdates and a description of defining features. I keep an Outlook Calendar of the entire timeline of the story with all the dates like birthdays and anniversaries, how many weeks pregnant a character is. when school starts at each institution mentioned, school vacations, number and recording date of each television show, etc. Yeah, I'm a little OCD, I guess.

Before I started posting LNDtH2, I did a massive revision of names in LNDtH1 to protect the guilty. Often I simply grab a name and a principal characteristic (Brenda is an early bloomer with big boobs) that was a real person at one time, and then make up an entire story to go with her that has no relationship to the inspirational character. But sometimes the names are just too close for comfort. So I changed many of them.

I changed one name by accident when I began LNDtH2, though. As I sat here writing chapter 114, I had to go back and check a parent's name. I had to search through five documents, but discovered that when I started LNDtH2, I inadvertently changed Courtney's last name from James to Price. But I didn't change her parents names or correct them in LNDtH1. To most readers, that has probably gone unnoticed. But it drives me crazy! I need to search all the files I've uploaded--especially the cast lists--and make sure they are all consistent. Dang, dang, dang!

I'm sure you are wondering, "Is that the worst thing he has to worry about?" Well, I suppose I have no reason to complain. But I tell you this: Courtney is going to get her butt spanked for changing her name and not telling me!