The other evening, I stumbled upon the tail-end of an Amazon forum where errors in novels were being discussed — and the venting readers were none too happy. I read through sixteen posts, bemused, somewhat dismayed, as plot errors were hashed from book covers not matching the story and character descriptions, to resurrections of dead mothers from one book to another, and discrepancies in inheritances.
There were cases of military brass with mixed up titles (Ouch! Can you say demotion?) and a woman married to the wrong brother. Referring to a villain two books later by the wrong name — two books later? Now there’s an astute reader!
A twisted ankle injury that became a wrenched knee with the lapse of one page. Even a dog latching onto the ankle of a character other than the one he’d bitten.
Loved the latter!
Naturally, I became post number seventeen, speaking up on behalf of writers and, I suppose, editors. Trust me, no one hates finding an error in a novel-gone-to-press worse than the author.
But it happens. Feet of clay, we all have them.
I explained how manuscripts go through rewrite after rewrite after. . .well, you know the drill. From conception to publication, it’s like a choreographed dance. Balancing weather and location, full moon vs. crescent, age then-age now. What your characters are eating, drinking, wearing. Down to their shoes and the color of their nails. When and where, likes and dislikes, how many days/years have passed from one event to another. Heck, who attended that event!
The list is infinite.
We, as writers, do honestly try to weed out these embarrassing blunders. We submit our works to critique groups, hoping fresh eyes will catch what our eyes can no longer see, having read and re-read our manuscripts. And then there are our editors, scouring the pages. More rewrites.
It’s inevitable that an error slips through once in a while. When my debut novel, Hoodoo Money, was published, I instructed my writing group not to tell me if they found an error while reading my beautiful book. It took me years to finish HM, and I wanted to hold onto my perfect dream.
Guess what I’m saying is, “Bear with us, dear readers. Relish those little morsels of error, those boo-boos you cleverly find, for these point out the humanity in your favorite authors.”
What would we do without you? And what a wonderful topic of discussion.
Thank you, Amazon.
Meanwhile, take care of yourselves. I'd love to hear about those wonderful bloopers you've found in books.
For those of you who write, may the proverbial Force be with you. For those of you who read, enjoy our efforts and, for goodness sake, keep reading. You are the reason we spin our tales (or is it chase our tails?) and spend so many hours in front of our computers that our heads throb and visions blur.
Of course, we wouldn’t have it any other way. . .
BTW, if you're interested in participating in forums, Amazon posts some good ones. http://www.amazon.com/