Monday, November 22, 2010

The Dangers of Search and Replace

This Thanksgiving, I'm giving thanks to Word's wonderful Search and Replace tool (amongst other things of course). Better yet, Replace All. Gotta love'em.

BUT you'd better read every, single word of your manuscript after you use said tool.

WARNING: After using Search and Replace, perform a SEARCH AND RESCUE!

While doing final edits on my manuscript yesterday, I decided to change one of the character's names from Josh to Dixon. He's a not-so-likeable guy and the name seemed to work better, plus I had another character with a 'J' name and it was confusing. Easy enough. Replace All.

Ha! I continued reading through and came across a passage where the hero is getting teased and slapped on the back by some friends. I'd used the word 'joshing'. Don't laugh. It's a small town and it fit the secondary character (I hope). Catching on yet? Imagine my double take when I read that the hero's friend was 'Dixoning' him.

Now, that just sounds wrong.

It even took me a minute to figure out how the hell the word got there. It's not even in Webster's (I checked out of curiosity because I'm weird). Can you imagine the look on an editor or agent's face? Be warned, my friends. Check. Every. Single. Word.

Does anyone else have Search and Replace rescue stories?

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. ha ha Rula, you just passed up an opportunity to start a new word

  2. Hey Joanna! Now there's a thought, LOL.

  3. I've had some interesting experiences with that myself and managed to create some new words. Yes, a function to be used with caution!

  4. Great post and good advice. A timely reminder. Thanks.

  5. Hi Kaily. Can you imagine collecting all the search and replace 'new words' writers come by and creating an S&R dictionary. A whole new language :). Could be amusing.

    Hey Nas. Thanks, and thanks for stopping in!

  6. Search and replace is an awesome tool. But ONLY when you look at each one at a time. Otherwise, you'll make some pretty silly errors.