On the way to work this morning, Katie noticed one of those ubiquitous catering trucks and remarked, “With a name like ‘Superior Coffee,’ you know it probably isn’t.” It’s a useful guideline: if a company has to tell you something is gourmet, for instance, that means it can’t count on its reputation alone.

That reminded me of a story David Weber told at a convention about the first Honor Harrington book. They were almost ready to go to press when he got a call from his editor.

“I’ve been thinking. Your viewpoint characters are in the Royal Manticoran Navy. The villains are the Republic of Haven. Isn’t that backwards? Shouldn’t the monarchy be the bad guys?”

They went back and forth a bit, until one of them said, “What if it’s the People’s Republic of Haven?”

They agreed that was a good solution, and then proceeded to look through the proofs for a place where they could insert the word without moving the page breaks around. As I recall, he said they only found one spot, and possibly the map, but he used the full name in the rest of the series.

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