Wednesday, February 1, 2017

#IWSG - Published mistake dilemma!

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The Twitter is @TheIWSG and hashtag #IWSG

Remember, the question is optional!!!

February 1 Question: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the February 1 posting of the IWSG will be Misha Gericke, LK Hill, Juneta Key, Christy and Joylene Buter!

Oh, helllloooooooo!

I hope you're all doing well on this fine first day of February!

In case you haven't read my books, I'll try not to give away any important plot points, but my post today is about my characters from my Maguire's Corner (MC) series.

When I wrote MC1, I didn't know that it would be the first in a series. I wasn't paying much attention to some of the 'extra' characters I'd been writing about.

When I started book two, there were so many Maguire family members milling about that I needed to start an online family tree.

Now, I'm working on book three and I've run into a HUGE problem.

Unbeknownst to me, I screwed up a family relationship back in book one.

Which shouldn't be a big deal, but I first called a certain character a cousin of Maggie Maguire in the beginning of the book and somewhere along the line by the end of the book, he became her uncle.


Now, mind you, this book has been through the ringer. MC1 was acquired, edited, published, un-published, re-acquired,  re-edited, re-named, and re-published.

And believe me, I've found quite a few mistakes because of all the numerous people that went through it for edits.

Only now am I creating a book-bible, for lack of a better term. I've re-read MC1 and made a spread-sheet for every character, street name, business name, and anything else I think might be important.

I need to do the same with MC2 even though I already know I called the same character uncle in that one, as well.

To make a long story short, too late ... this same cousin/uncle character is also in MC3.

He's important, but not 'main character' important.

But...he should be her cousin not her uncle.

Do you think anyone will care or notice if I switch him back to her cousin?

Do I need to explain it off somehow?

And if I do, in the context of the book or before Chapter 1?

Can I get away with saying they call him uncle cause he's older, but he's really her cousin?

Got any other bright ideas or suggestions?
I'd appreciate them.

Make sure you check out other IWSG posts today! Share the love and encouragement!


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  1. The Anthology looks to be an awesome book. The pen also looks grand but unfortunately unable to have one as I'm outside the US.
    This is a grand site and I applaud all who helps keep it running smoothly.


  2. My sister-in-law and her niece were at school together, giving them more of a cousin relationship. You could probably work something like that in. Or 'Uncle' could be some kind of nickname?
    Or you could just pretend it never happened in the first place ;)

  3. Angela has a good fix!
    Yeah, when you don't plan for a series, stuff like that comes up.

  4. Yes, Angela's fix could work. When you have a lot going on in a story, people often don't notice the little details you do. And yes, planning for a series can be more complicated.

  5. I third Angela's suggestion! I know lots of people that use aunt and uncle for people that aren't even family. It's a term of endearment in a lot of cases.

  6. Hahaa...I know what you mean. In my sequel, I also had to go back to remember all the relationships and eye color and so on... Making a family bible of sorts is a great idea!

    I agree with Angela and Christine. But I wouldn't get too concerned about it. I loved the book Already Home!!!

  7. Congrats on becoming an admin for the group! And the anthology looks like a great read.

  8. Quite the problem, but I think the fix is in the first comment. Congrats on the admin job!

  9. I've been in this situation before, where I realized I screwed up some small detail along the way and now, whoops, those books are already set in stone and can't be changed. Every situation is different, but I'm sure you'll find some creative way to fix it.

    Congrats on the new admin job, btw!

  10. Hmm tough call on how to fix that! I think it should be addressed somehow but sorry I don't have any better ideas than what you came up with. It's hard to know when to start making character family trees when you aren't sure you're writing a series.

  11. I like your idea of giving the character the honorary "Uncle" title because he is older. On my husband's huge, ginormous side of the family, I've been advised to call any adult female "Auntie" whether or not that is actually accurate.

  12. A faithful reader might notice the switch if you make it. Congrats to the folks in the anthology.

  13. Is it possible for him to be both? My aunt was also a second cousin because my mother and her cousin both married brothers, so when my mother's cousin married my uncle, she became my aunt. I don't know your manuscript so I don't know if changing the relationships would be noticeable. I love your idea of a book-bible.

  14. I think explaining it simply in the books could work. Like you said, 'they call him uncle cause he's older, but he's really her cousin?" I have similar situations in my family. I have people I call uncle because of the age difference, but everyone knows they are really cousins. For us it's a matter of respect. We have to address our elders somehow.
    Congrats on your new position with the IWSG.

  15. Our family is so big that my children have many cousins who are old enough to be their uncles. Go for it. So glad to have you aboard.

  16. With five books in my series, I had nightmares about doing that. I made outlines, timelines, anything I could think of.

    Happy to have you on the team, Heather.

  17. Hi Heather ... as Angela says I'd go along with that idea ... you solved your own problem ... good luck with #3 ... cheers Hilary

  18. I think Angela offers a good suggestion. And you could get away with calling him 'uncle' because he's older. I had an aunt who was young enough to be more like a sister to us, so we never called her our aunt until she made a big deal out of it later on. So yeah, I think your fix could definitely work.

    A book bible is so helpful when writing a series. I have a online family tree too—I love it!

  19. I don't suppose you have any time travel in your book, do you? That might let you fix the problem quite nicely. Otherwise, I think you should just make him the cousin without any explanation and see if any of your readers notice. Let this be an Easter Egg for your readers to find. Trying to explain it would just draw the reader's attention to the mistake.

  20. Congratulations on your new post with the IWSG, I'm sure you will be a valued addition.

    On your dilemma: I actually do have cousins that I grew up calling Aunt and Uncle because of their age. My parents were very strict and formal and they enforced that 'respect your elders rule to the T. It wasn't until I was a grown women doing some family research, that I found these people to actually be my cousins and not Aunts and Uncles.

  21. I agree with Angela, too! Either use uncle as a nickname or you could even toss in a little spice by creating a little funny (or serious or whatever you're going for that would apply to said character) backstory on 'uncle' but really cousin person. :)

  22. Hmm, I don't know if most people would notice a detail like that. I guess it depends on how often he's mentioned. But I think uncle as a nickname could work. Maybe? You don't want to try too hard to cover it up because that would probably just make it more obvious.
    Congrats on becoming an admin!!!

  23. Congrats on becoming an admin for IWSG!
    I think you can pass it off a little with the older idea - or even making it a nickname or funny story like SA mentioned. I have a step-nephew who is six months older than me, so it is way too weird for him to call me Aunt, so that doesn't happen. My husband's family is complex and large, with various people showing up at family gatherings that sometimes I would like a chart to keep it all straight and I call them all "cousins."

  24. Sometimes, we call someone uncle or cousin because of their age, not the true relationship. You can write what you need and don't worry about it. I don't think anyone would notice or hold it against you, especially because it was a different book. What is much more important is that he stays the same approximate age and doesn't suddenly becomes 20 years younger.

  25. Yvonne – I’m looking forward to the anthology also. The swag info may change. : ) TY HMG

    Angela – Excellent ideas! TY HMG

    Alex – It really got out of hand. : ) Thank you, Alex!

    Natalie – I’m hoping most people missed it. TY HMG

    Christine – That’s a great point! TY HMG

    Cathrina – The spreadsheet is really helping keep things straight! And, thank you! HMG

    Jennifer – Thank you! It’s an exciting time with IWSG!

    Elizabeth – Yes, I think we have a winner. TY HMG

    Megan – Going to try, anyway! Thank you very much! HMG

    Stephsco – I probably should have started it in book two, but I never thought I’d get this far.
    : ) TY HMG

    Tamara – I think it’s the best option! I like Auntie, too! TY HMG

    J.L. – I’m hoping if I missed it, they might have, too. : ) TY HMG

    Em-Musing – These are some great ideas I’m going to mull them all over. TY HMG

    Toinette – Yes, I think this might be best! And, thank you! HMG

    Susan – That’s awesome. Thank you, Susan. It’s great to work with you guys! HMG

    L. Diane – I should have asked you first. : ) Thank you so much! HMG

    Hilary – I hope so. Thank you! HMG

    M.J. – That’s good to know. I’m glad I asked for back-up! TY HMG

    Chemist Ken – Ooooh! An Easter Egg! That could be fun! TY HMG

    farawayeyes – I’m so glad I asked and so many of us have the same idea! TY HMG

    S.A. – This is sounding better and better. Thank you! HMG

    Sarah – I’m hoping most people didn’t notice. But, you’re right. I don’t want to make it a thing. TY HMG

    Tyrean – Thank you! I’m excited to join the team! I like the chart. Or nametags might work! TY HMG

    Olga – That’s an excellent point. Thank you. HMG

    Patricia – Yeah. That sounds best. TY HMG

  26. Hi, Heather! I had a cousin who was around the age of my parents, and he was always "Uncle Kelsey" to me. It was out of respect. I adored my "uncle" from the time I was able to walk till the day he died. I've also lived in a number of places where respected older people were referred to as "Uncle" and "Aunt" for that matter. It would strike me as odd if you found a creative way to get around it.

    Thanks for taking on the conference page for the IWSG!

  27. Yep, you could definitely get away with saying they call him uncle cause he's older, but he's really her cousin.

  28. Oh goodness!

    This is a tricky one. I once went back and finessed some facts in Book 1 while preparing to publish Book 2, but at the time, I felt safe because all of twelve people had read it at the time.

    Best of luck with figuring it out!

  29. That is tricky, I get cold sweats thinking about things like that turning up in a book I've published! Even if they're minor and probably wouldn't be noticed by many. I'm inclined to go with the "uncle as nickname but really cousin" option - families are funny and call each other all sorts of things that might need some explaining to those outside. Good luck with it!

  30. Love your a book-bible idea and a spread-sheet for every character, street name, business name, and anything else I think might be important. Thank you for joining the IWSG Administrative staff.

  31. You make me feel only took me to the second book to realize I needed a story bible to keep track of all the people and their relationships. I recommend drawing maps, too, or at least keeping lists of all the places you mention in the books, so that Joe's Quickstop isn't a mile east of town in one book, and two miles south in the next.

    As for the uncle/cousin thing...I think you're getting some good advice. Extended families with lots of relations often get rather confused and confusing as to the exact ways people are related, and Cousin Vinnie could get called Uncle easily enough.

  32. This is an interesting predicament. If no one has pointed it out, it's probably gone unnoticed. But I do like the idea everyone else mentioned that "Uncle" is his nickname.

  33. Congratulations on becoming an admin!

    Your predicament is one of the things that worries me about writing a series. It can be so difficult keeping track of everyone. I think you've gotten a lot of good advice so far. Good luck!

  34. Loads of good advice with regards to the uncle/cousin situation.
    Congrats on joining the team! Good to have you aboard!

  35. Speaking for myself, I usually have a difficult time keeping track of characters if there are a lot of them so I probably wouldn't notice what you're dealing with. However some folks really take note of such things so I guess you'd want to get your characters consistent.

    Maybe you could use cloning or alternate timelines? No, I guess not if it's not science fiction.

    Well, good luck with that. I'm not going to be much help I'm afraid.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  36. Thank you for stepping up as an admin for IWSG.

    Mixed up characters: when I began my very 1st book, I never thought about a sequel, let alone a trilogy. Like you, I had to make that family tree/character list and keep updating it. Now I do it for every story. Easier to skim through the "details" file than the whole darn previous book. Good luck with getting everything straightened out.

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. You can probably explain it -- "Uncle" could be a term of endearment. (Deleted my earlier comment because of typos.)

  39. I have no idea really but making like uncle is a nick name sounds good to me but just don't know. Interesting dilemma.
    Happy IWSG Day!
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

  40. I haven't read the other replies but I'm sure my answer will agree with many of them. The fact that a cousin is much older makes it a perfect reason to call him an uncle. To get really complicated (I do genealogy research) a cousin could also be an uncle!

  41. Oh - I wasn't aware that IWSG has a store. I hope I can get - Oh well, not in India sadly as I see it says USA only.
    About the character who is a cousin/uncle. Such family members aren't uncommon in the larger extended family in India because a cousin may be so much older that he is called Uncle and here it's considered rude to call an older person simply by their name so everyone your parents' age becomes aunty or uncle.
    In your place I would explain it away. Good luck. Look forward to reading it.


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