These may amuse you, because even as I grapple with them, they are amusing me:
1. I realize that Jones is a ridiculously common surname, especially in the UK and especially in Wales. But generally when I’m writing academic articles, I mention the character’s whole name the first time I refer to them, and then refer to them by their last name throughout the rest of the article. Which is all well and good, until you’re writing an article about the Whoniverse that necessarily must mention both Harriet Jones and Ianto Jones and may mention Martha Jones, and I don’t really want to go traipsing about in scholarship being all familiar with these folks and calling them by their given names, but the constant use of their full names is remarkably awkward (although probably what I’m stuck with — I simply cannot refer to even a fictional prime minister by her first name). Meanwhile, on Twitter someone tells me that in Wales it is common to deal with the problem of Joneses by referring to them with reference to what they do. So, Jones the companion? Jones the … whatever it is we think Ianto does at Torchwood? Jones the PM? Somehow, that gets even more awkward in terms of construction, despite being infinitely more hilarious.
2. The Face of Boe presents a similar problem. Do I reference him continually as the Face of Boe, or do I, after the first mention, shorten that? And if so, do I shorten it to the Face or Boe? If I shorten it, I’m leaning towards the Face. That said, on Twitter, this provoked amusing levels of varied opinion and raised the issue of appropriate pronouns for the thing/person/tentacle monster/Face/Jack. Help me, Internets, help me!
3. Apparently, according to the Sherlock commentary tracks, everyone does this, but I keep writing (in a different article than the DW one mentioned above) “Sherlock and Watson” when I meant to write “Holmes and Watson.” This is an entirely aggravating up-hill battle that I shouldn’t even need to be having.
I have these sorts of problems a lot, and recently felt sort of embarrassed that on some of the HPA stuff I’ve been doing about gender and bullying I keep referring to Snape as Severus, as if he’s an old friend. But of course, for me, fictional characters are old friends, even if that’s inappropriate to disclose in most scholarly settings (of which the HPA isn’t one).
I even tried to determine if I get the most antsy about first name/last name issues around characters about whom I’ve done transformative work (fanfiction, for those of us who aren’t being delicate about it), but that really doesn’t seem to be it either (although, it’s surely the case regarding both Snape and Ianto Jones). I suppose that it’s just, as it often is in my writing, mostly about cadence.
For the other folks out there doing scholarly work, what weird problems do you have of this ilk? Because it surely can’t just be me. And I need some amusement while I stare at the 50 pages I need to write in the next few days while also moving my office.