When I was working on my last book, Crooked Paths (name change and dramatic, from-the-ground-up rewrite pending), I named one of the characters Paul.
It was a Nanowrimo novel, and I was writing quickly. I threw in the first name that came to mind and it attached itself stubbornly to the character. Very soon, in my head, the character was a Paul to the bone.
Unfortunately, this character was not a very nice man. And I felt bad about this, because of my friend Paul, whom some of you may know.
I asked Paul to rename the character for me. He chose the name Ross, with about as much thought as I had chosen the name Paul.
There was only one Paul in the book. It was set in Dublin, so I didn't need to worry about St. Paul's Cathedral or Rue Saint-Paul or Paulaner beer. I did what any lazy writer would have done. I used Find + Replace to replace every occurance of the word Paul with the word Ross.
But I had forgotten one crucial thing.
My main character, Becky, visits the Phoenix Park in Dublin, a large city park dominated by the Wellington Testimonial and the Papal Cross. The Papal Cross was erected to commemorate Pope John Paul II's visit to Ireland.
Can you guess what happened?
I got a mystified text from a beta-reader asking me who Pope John Ross II was, and were they missing something?
Find+Replace - it's a fantastic thing, but I've learned to use it with care. . .