What was your name again?
I’m terrible with names. I didn’t used to be, but once I hit about thirty, it seems that all the room in my head set aside for names has been shifted to cover other things… I’m not sure what exactly, but it’s probably something useful like knowing how to swallow food without choking. Or how to spit words out backwards. It’s definitely that–I’ve become a real pro at that the last few years.
Regardless, this can make for some interesting times when you write two series with enormous casts. In other words, I like the same names for people. And I use the same names. Unintentionally.
I finished the fifth Shadows/Leroy book before starting the second Firefly Hollow book. And in that fifth Shadows book, we meet Garrett Gordon. Garrett’s daughter is named Emma, and her mother was named…Rachel. Well, if you read Firefly Hollow, you’ll recognize those names. Owen and Sarah Campbell have three daughters, who were named AFTER I wrote Shadows #5. Two of their names? Emma and Rachel.
*insert first facepalm here*
I didn’t realize this until I went back and picked up writing on the Shadows series. So now, I’m not only confusing myself by having Garrett have a four-year-old named Emma (versus Emma having a four-year-old named Sydney), Rachel is Emma’s mother. We don’t meet the unfortunate Rachel in the Shadows series as she is deceased (and has been since before we met Garrett, even.) But it’s still a bit confusing.
Just for kicks and giggles, there is Gordon. Galen Gordon. Garrett’s older brother. The only people who call him Galen and get away with it are his brother, his wife, and his former mother-in-law. To everyone else, including the readers, he’s Gordon. But wait! There are now TWO Gordon males living in my Olman County. Two! So I’m going to have to poke some fun at myself by having another character call out “Gordon,” only to get both men’s attention. And someone will remark sourly that a person could get confused. Know, when and if you read that scene, the person truly confused is… me.
I have a note at the beginning of the manuscript for my editor to watch out for Garrett being called Gordon. ‘Cause, you know. I’m addled. And ditto for Emma to be Sydney in this one. Same reason.
There are several other instances of names crossing over but most of them are minor characters that we don’t (hopefully) have to worry about. And I do plan, as soon as I get off this deadline I’m on right now, to sit down and make a little wiki that I can post on the website which lines everyone out. Mostly me, ‘cause I’m addled.
Now, it would be bad enough if my scatterbrainedness was only in the fictional world. It isn’t.
I recently had replied to one of y’all on Facebook wherein I completely hosed up your name. (DeAnn, you are not LeAnn. I know this. I do apologize.) It wasn’t personal. I just had a brain spasm. I kept thinking “don’t you type LeAnn. Don’t you do it.” So what’d I do? Typed it and hit enter before I could backspace.
*insert second cringing facepalm here*
I’ve been known to call one of my aunts and ask her how her husband, Fred, was doing. Yeah. Fred’s not her husband. I don’t think I even know any Freds. No idea.
Glendon, my hubby? He’s been called everything from his name to some weird mix of names that doesn’t make sense, depending on what I have on my mind that day, to the cats’ names, to Ethan. Gordon. Yep. Owen once, I think.
Our cat Squiddles, she has thyroid disease. That means she is HUNGRY. All The Time. She woke us up squalling one morning when we didn’t get up fast enough to suit her. (Thank God for automatic feeders, you know?) I remember responding to her with a loud “Shut up, Bill!”
To which end hubby comes fully awake, sits up in bed, and looks at me to ask, somewhat irately, “Who’s Bill?”
There’s a roundtable show we watch. One of the commentator’s name is Bill (or former commentators as he is no longer on the show.) And everyone was always picking on him. I was dreaming I was on the panel (yeah, let’s not go there) and so Squiddles became Bill. Hey, the rest of the panelists chorused it with me.
I got funny looks from hubby for days after that.
So if you and I ever encounter each other in the real world and I don’t know your name (or my name – it could happen and wouldn’t surprise me in the least), please don’t take it personally. I’m just an addled writer with an addled brain, trying to remember what I came in the room for. 😉