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Friday, January 28, 2011

Ooops!

Wearing two different shoes is not a mistake I've ever made, but I've made plenty of others. Especially in my writing. I read a published book recently that had a glaring mistake. Now, don't get me wrong... it was a fabulous book and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone, but at the risk of sounding critical, I'm not going to mention the title. In fact, my intentions are not to criticize at all. The opposite is true. I sympathize with the author because I see how easily this can happen. The mistake I'm talking about is a repeated line. I probably wouldn't have noticed the line if it had not brilliantly conveyed the emotion of the character in a unique way. It was such a fantastic line that it stood out to me, and when it was repeated later in the book, I remembered it right away. I have a theory on why this mistake went unnoticed by the author, the agent, and the editor. I've actually made the same mistake. During revisions, I move things around a lot. Many times, I've come across a line that I decide is needed elsewhere or would be more effective in a different spot. I move it, but... I forget to delete it from the original place. When I read through my manuscript over and over again, it doesn't stand out as a repeat because I've read my chapters so many times that every line sounds like a repeat. When an author turns in revised material to the publisher, she, her agent, and her editor have read the manuscript so many times that they all fail to catch the repeat. See how easily it can happen? I guess what I'm trying to say is that none of us can be too careful. Even if you've had several crit partners read your manuscript, it wouldn't be a bad idea to let a fresh eye read for you after you've made your final round of revisions. They just might catch something glaring before you submit to an agent. The same could be said for an author whose book is scheduled for an upcoming release. A fresh eye before approving the final copy might not be a bad idea. Noticed any glaring mistakes in your manuscript lately? Have a great weekend!

30 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

I think that's easy to do! Esp. when we're changing things around. Fortunately, an error like that doesn't change how I enjoy a manuscript. For me, it's my secondary characters changing by the end of the ms, so I have to go back and rewrite parts of the beginning!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

lately? all the time.....

Carolyn V. said...

I read a book not long ago that had a whole page of mistakes. I wasn't sure if the line editor had mistakenly left it in, but it was sure a surprise to me!

W.B. said...

I once read a children's story that had a word missing a letter. :p

Mistakes are nothing to get upset over. They always happen, and it's important to always learn from them. :)

Patti said...

I think lots of times you forget about that line because you don't read the book all in one sitting, but a reader will.

Jill Kemerer said...

This happens to me a LOT, and for the same reasons you listed. I move things, or sometimes I flat out repeat something on accident. My cp's are really good at picking up on repetition!

lotusgirl said...

I do the same thing. I find it helps when I print things out to catch some stuff.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Most of my manuscript mistakes are repetition but they can be all over the place, so you're right, it's great to have a fresh eye to look over a manuscript when it's done.

Diane said...

It really interferes with my reading to find an error. My rhythm is completely thrown off. :O)

jbchicoine said...

I haven't noticed any glaring mistakes lately, but I sure have in the past. I've run the whole gamut! You are correct--a fresh pair of eyes really makes a difference.

Tere Kirkland said...

I caught one of those in my wip just this week. Also, I used the word linger like 5 times in 115 pages. *blushes*

Great post, Susan. Enjoy the weekend!

Catherine Ensley said...

I once read a book that dealt with grammar and honest to gosh, it misused "it's."

T. Anne said...

Yes, I'm guilty! Thank goodness my internal editor doesn't let me get away with that.

Danyelle said...

This is so true! I've found places where I've changed things, but only deleted most of it, or sometimes left a suffix on. >.< It's incredible how easy it is to miss things from being familiar with them. :)

Jayne said...

It wasn't a grammar book, was it? Some time ago, one of my writing professors recommended a grammar book that had glaring errors in it. (I don't think he realized this.) The irony made for good humor.
My work is always riddled with errors. And right now I'm the only one doing the editing. It's a little tricky, by I'm not yet near publishing.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Boy, do I know what you mean. A writer develops writer's blindness and pretty soon you're reading words that aren't even there. Keeping my fingers crossed that you didn't read the error in one of my books.

BTW: I hate to admit it, but one time I went out with one black shoe and one navy blue. Embarrassed? Yes! But in my defense they were the same style, and it was dark. :}

Plamena Schmidt said...

When I read this at first, I thought you meant the line was repeated in a row (I've seen that happen and that kind of pulls me out of the story for a second or two), but I doubt I wouldn't have noticed what you're pointing out. And even if I had, I wouldn't have minded too much.

Tabitha Bird said...

yes. there is always something to wrk on hey. spelling is probably my biggest downfall. I just don;t see the mistakes until someone points them out.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've had both happen to me.

With the shoes, I grabbed a pair of black pumps to take on my trip for the in-laws big anniversary. Only they weren't the same pair. One was higher by 1/2 inch. At least they weren't for the same foot, but I did spend the night walking funny. ;)

As for the ms, I swear my computer has a virus that purposely moves commas around and misspells words that were fine when I save the document. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :D

David said...

I think all the easy to characterize and fix problems with my manuscript have been caught, with the help of many other writers.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

In my finished MS I have a character who floods his sibling's bedroom. Until the second to last draft (draft 20something), that sibling was a brother, but later in the story the same character says he doesn't have any brothers, only a sister. NO ONE CAUGHT IT. Not me, not my CPs, not my family...no one. I finally noticed on a round of line edits! :-)

Carol Riggs said...

Gah! I would hate for that to happen. And I can see how it could EASILY happen. Yes, definitely a reason for fresh eyeballs on the piece after revision (esp major revision). Happy weekend!

Ron Smith said...

I can see how easily that line got overlooked by all of the people that worked on the book.

I consider myself an expert speller and grammarian. (Now I have to make sure I don't have a typo in this post. Jeez.) But it takes a crit partner or spouse/friend/whatever to point out something your eyes have drifted over a million times. Your brain registers the word "cold," but what you have written is the word "cool."

It's always...always important to get fresh eyes on your work.

Thanks for the reminder.

~Ellie Kings~ said...

Hi Susan, it's good to be reading your posts again. They help me know I'm not alone in my mistakes. Thank you for staying in touch. It didn't go unnoticed. Love you!

Kathryn Magendie said...

I will tell you this - even when you have fresh eyes read it, mistakes STILL happen or are unnoticed in the final one!

Not a one of my published novels are mistake-free- even if it's just a small one or two - and they've been read and edited and read again and edited again and again- by me, by my editor, by a copyeditor, by a friend, by my husband - and still...

There are so many opportunites for mistakes to happen: just as you say -things are switched around, or when you fix ONE error ANOTHER error is made, but you are in a hurry to get to print and as you fix that something, you think you are okay, and guess what? Ironicallym, you messed up something else in the fixing of the other!

Sometimes it's so obvious you can't believe it wasn't found - sometimes it's things no one will know but you, and others, it's the cringe of "Omg - one of the quote marks is missing!" or "omg one says my aunt Ruby and the next one is my Aunt Ruby" !

My ultimate goal is to have a book go to print without a single error - I can hear editors and publishers laughing from here *laugh*

Kathryn Magendie said...

laughing me arse off at the errors (an m) at the end of ironically *LAUGHING* Um, I mean, I did that on purpose to make a point....teeheehee

Dawn Simon said...

I've had that happen too! It's usually from moving it around, just as you said. I totally agree on the fresh eyes. So helpful!

I hope you're enjoying your weekend, Susan!

P.S. - I haven't worn shoes from two different pairs out in public, but I have almost gone out in my slippers. Yeesh.

Stephen Tremp said...

I have to laugh at your pic because a couple days ago I rushed out the door to drop off my kids somewhere and I had two different tennis shoes on. They were both white so I didn't notice at first. When I got there, I noticed one was a sketcher and one was a Reebok.

Suzyhayes said...

Um... I never thought of that and now I'm doing it. Thanks. Really. I appreciate it. ;)

Name: Holly Bowne said...

That is excellent advice, Susan. And uh...unfortunately, no. I haven't noticed any glaring errors in my manuscript lately because that would require that I would have actually LOOKED at it lately! Oi! I'm so frustrated with how the busyness of my life is taking me away from my WIP! But tomorrow is a new day, right?