Prompt Me! from Mike Lane–Manuscript has a voice

Mike Lane Writers Prompt: Your manuscript has a voice that is asking for greater meaning regarding something that it includes. What is it? 

I was putting the finishing touches on my latest novel, after spending the past year fine tuning the story. I decided to weave some of my grandkids’ escapades into it, just to liven up the story line. My three grandboys are just teenagers now, but their school involvement, circle of friends and their interactions all make for good backstories, personalities, and names to build upon.

I typed “The End” and went to save the manuscript. I hit the Save button. It seemed to Save OK. So I went to Close the writing app. An error message popped up. “Error 2036 on page 187.” I had never gotten a message like that.

So I went to page 187 on the document. It was the scene where Juliette, the protagonist, is ready to say “Yes,” to Everett, who has just proposed. These names I had gleaned from my grandboys’ circle of friends. Juliette was a friend from soccer, Everett was one of my grandkids. I scanned the page for any apparent errors. I turned on the paragraph marks and other hidden formatting symbols feature so I could see if spacing and paragraphs looked right, and they did. I ran grammar check and it all looked good.

I tried to close the app again, and got the same error. So I went back to page 187 and ran spell check. This time Everett’s name was underlined in red. I figured because it was a proper name, maybe spell check thought it was something else. I put my cursor on Everett’s name and left clicked. Then I right clicked to see how the app thought I should be spelling his name. The right click suggested “Silas”. That was weird. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Silas was Everett’s twin brother’s name.

Again, I tried to close the app, and again I got the same error message. So I went to page 187, changed Everett to Silas, and went to close the app. I figured I could always go back and change the names back later.Find and replace

The app closed. The next day, when I went to open the manuscript document, I had no problem, except that everywhere Everett’s name was, it had become Silas! It had done a global “Find” and “Replace”. It was so strange. I went in to change it back, but it wouldn’t let me. But since it didn’t change the storyline, Juliette and now Silas married, had a family, and played out their parts in my book.

It’s now 2036, and I am very old. Not as old as my mother was at the same age. No, now with modern technology and replacement parts, living to 120 is common. My mind is sharp, I am still writing novels, and have been able to accrue a corner of the reading market and enough money to support my habit.

My grandson is getting married, finally. Everett had married a nice young girl about two years ago, and now it’s Silas at the altar.

Right beside his Juliette.


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