Feel free to mock me...
So, my NaNo novel summary that I posted a few weeks ago had one word that was wrong. See, the novel was already beginning to show glimmers of itself over a year ago, and I wrote a short story that was meant to take place long before the novel but in the same setting, to help solidify some of those images. In that story I included various references to factory smoke.
A factory. I had this image of a sprawling, early industrial factory, something like this:
Well, I started questioning if that was the image that people would get from the word "factory." If it were a steampunk novel, then probably, but it didn't seem to conjure that image for me as I was doing my last minute, pre-November planning. I started thinking that what I wanted was more along the lines of a coal-burning power plant (especially a particular one alone I-80 up in Cheyenne), mashed up with an oil refinery and a grain elevator, and other such industrial complexes.
Power plant didn't feel quite right, either, so I decided to call it the Refinery. Except...this was the scramble before NaNo, remember, and somehow when I wrote that down, changing "Factory" to "Refinery," I mixed the two words together instead of changing it, and ended up with "Refectory."
And I kept writing that throughout November. NaNo doesn't give time to question yourself. By the time November was done, I had convinced myself that a refectory really was some sort of general word that encompassed all the things I was picturing. It wasn't until mid-December (when my characters actually arrived there) that I paused to question myself. The dictionary shocked me. A dining room in a monastery? That's not what I wanted! The image had become so ingrained that it took me awhile to trust that I hadn't somehow been using some secondary definition or something.
Nope. Refinery it is. Or maybe I'll go back to Factory--I love that picture of the sugar factory that was just a little ways south of here. But not Refectory.