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?