We are all human and we all make mistakes but that hasn’t stopped me being quietly scathing when I have found errors in books – at least until I started writing my own.
The thing that used to make me cross was when the name of the character pitched as the hero was accidentally swapped for that of the villain, usually towards the end of the book. “There is no excuse for that,” I used to think – and it’s happened on several occasions, including with experienced authors signed with big publishing houses.
One tiny slip could ruin the entire novel for me, no matter how much I told myself to ignore it or give the author/editor/publisher a break. It just seemed to alter the flow and I found it hard to get back into it (maybe that’s just me?).
While I haven’t got any names mixed up, yet, four chapters into my book (you can read an intro to the Friday 500 Challenge here) and I’m already struggling to remember some of the details I’ve included earlier on. While I’m sure I will still flinch when I find a mistake in someone else’s book, I will at least have some sympathy now.
It’s got even worse since I went back over the first three chapters and added bits in here and there. I have to think to myself: “Wait, did I say that already?” Another thing I dislike in books is repetition of the facts or certain phrases but I can sort of see how it happens.
My problem is partly down to the fact that I might get an hour to work on it one day and then not be able to pick it up again until several evenings later. I struggle to remember where I’ve put my keys most days (usually still in the front door, occasionally in the fridge) so working out whether I’ve already alluded to the fact that someone’s mother died or mentioned the colour of the heroine’s eyes (did I say blue or green?) is often hopeless.
Having said all that, I’m surprised by how enthusiastic I still am about writing my story and having the deadline of sending 500 words to Kate each week is brilliant. I’ve had a couple of weeks where I’ve started something else as the idea has come to me (and Kate has been great at reading and giving feedback on whatever I send her) and I think that’s helped keep things fresh (though probably not helped with remembering the details of my main story).
We are having an Easter break while the children are off school but I’m looking forward to getting back into it. I have several blog posts planned too, including a look at our recent mother/daughter holiday (one word: disaster).
How do you feel about mistakes in books? Can you overlook them? Do you struggle to remember details when you’re writing? How do you get around it?
6 thoughts on “Friday 500 Writing Challenge – Update Four.”
Totally agree Tara! I delight in finding mistakes (and it was a proud mum moment when S pointed out a typo in the book he was reading!) BUT am very forgetful about details in my own writing and I’m sure I repeat certain words/phrases. Mind you, I think that’s the editor and proof reader’s job to highlight/alter before a book is published so I never blame the author… I think you get ‘word blind’ with your own work! Enjoy the rest of Easter… was your weekend really a disaster?! X
Totally agree, but a book goes through so many filters before it gets to,us that you would hope errors would get caught. Disaster?
National news websites, filled with SPAG errors, just eurgh. I hate spotting typos once I’ve published but console myself with the fact this is a squeezed in hobby around a crazy life, not a profession. I’ve also spawned a grammar nazi, she’s brutal. 😂
Holiday disaster? 😱
This is great. I cannot wait to read your book. We better be able to get it here in the states!
With that said, I don’t know how you ever manage to read my blog. I am the WORST at editing. I get really raw and emotional in my writing and I can’t go back into grammar mode when I re-read.
Best of luck on the book. I’m dying to read it.
Thank you, that’s very kind. It might take another 10 years so I hope you don’t mind the wait. I’ve never noticed a single mistake on your wonderful blog. Also, I think blogs are different. We don’t have editors or teams of people reading them. Some mistakes are natural, we’re only human, after all. I just notice them more in books.
LOL, I suppose that’s true. Well, write on, my friend. You have at least one eager reader waiting on that book!