by Brenda W. Clough
This hack assumes that you are not writing your ms with a ball point pen on yellow lined pads, the way I wrote most of my earlier novels. But if you are using a word processing program, ah! There are ways to make it work for you.
Here’s a simple one. You know, I am sure, how a wiggly red line usually appears under any word you type that is misspelled. This also happens with made-up names, because Word is not very smart. Elrond has a wiggly line under it, as I type it. However, there is a way to go into your word processing program, and mark that word as correctly spelled — to add ‘Elrond’ to the computer vocabulary. OK — do it. This will of course relieve you of the annoyance of having a wiggly red line under every use of the word. However! Once ‘Elrond’ is marked as correct, then every time you mis-type it as ‘Ellrond’ it will have a wiggly red line under it. And you can fix it. Essentially you are forcing the program to work with you, and not against you.
Furthermore: let us say that you then go and employ one of our earlier Write Hacks, and put the name ‘Elrond’ through Google. OMG! Look at all these pictures of Hugo Weaving — you did not know that JRRT invented the name and used it extensively through LOTR and many other works! (Elementary, my dear Watson: I deduce that you live barefoot and clothed in six yards of` orange muslin in a Buddhist monastery in the High Pamir.) And there are movies!! Who knew?!
Clearly the thing to do is a global search and replace, taking out all occurrences in the ms of ‘Elrond’ and subbing in ‘Allanon.’ Having ‘Elrond’ correctly spelled throughout allows for a clean and complete search-and-replace. Since computers are stupid they will leave in all occurrences of ‘Ellrond’, but you have (with the aid of the wiggly red line) corrected them all. (And, yeah — before you do any of this go and put ‘Allanon‘ into Google…)