Thursday, February 02, 2012

Editing mistakes--or: Why, yes, my character does have super powers

Before I published my first book, my editor told me there would be mistakes in it. "No matter how hard we try," she said. "There's no such thing as a perfect book."

At the time I didn't realize how right she was. I get it now, though.

Go ahead, ask me about the hay-straw debacle. (Although I tried to change every reference to horses eating straw in My Unfair Godmother, one still slipped through.)

Or there was that time when my heroine's hands were tied, then untied, then magically retied.

Someone just emailed me and pointed out that I have a character pressing the gas pedal on his motorcycle in Slayers. Did you know that motorcycles don't have gas pedals? I clearly didn't.

A few years ago I got back the rights to my first book, Deep Blue Eyes and Other Lies. After I got over the horror of my bad writing (I wrote the thing 16 years ago. I've improved since then) I went through it, rewrote portions, and put it up as the ebook Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards. I had it copy edited, but the problem was that I also made changes to the manuscript per the copy editor's suggestions.

I've sold something like 1600 copies in two months. I just reread it because I'm going to have it formatted for a paperback and I found all sorts of typos.

I also found a place where the characters refer to an event that hasn't happened yet. (Funny line, too bad it doesn't make sense to the readers.) I'm not sure whether I should be gratified or not that none of the 1600 people who bought the ebook have told me about this problem.

Maybe they just haven't gotten to the book yet. (Sort of like those three stacks of books that I've bought but haven't found time to read.)

So, for anyone who already bought Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards--Why, yes, my characters are psychic. In fact, they put the chic in psychic.

And the fixed version should be up late tonight.

On the subject, Virginia Maughan Kammeyer wrote a poem about editorial errors :

WESTERN DAZE

Moving as rapidly as light
You type a novel in a night,
Then galloping at frantic pace
Over the hills your heroes race.

From cattle ranch, to gambling room,
To mesa bluff and back they zoom.
How can you, writing at such rate,
Keep places, plots, and people straight?

Your marshal, now—I fear that he
May someday meet catastrophe,
(A mix-up by some typing elf)
And handcuff, jail, then hang—himself.

So, so true

15 comments:

Erin Edwards said...

I've read Blue Eyes - and enjoyed it! I remember noticing a couple of small typos, but way less than I've seen in some traditionally published e-books. (There was one I didn't buy because there was even a typo on the title on the title page!)

And I didn't notice the continuity error - and I have also noticed those in traditionally published - even big award winning books. Now that's bugging me.... what oh what was it? :)

Tiana Smith said...

I've read it, but I didn't notice your character's psychic ability :) Either that, or I just brushed past it. But I'm like Erin ... now I'm curious ...

gaylene said...

I loved this! Glad to know my characters aren't the only ones with accidental "super powers"...

Janet Johnson said...

This is actually comforting. Thanks for sharing. :) And I'll have to get this book! Becaause curiosity killed the cat.

Beedubbs said...

Haha. This definitely clears some things up. But it's not like I was about to say Oh, by the way Janette, your grammar is horrendous. (it wasn't even that bad...) And you writing the best books ever totally makes up for it. It doesn't matter about the typos when the story's good.

Amber said...

Hi, *waves hand* I'm new to your blog and I though I'd jump on in there. I loved this post! Sometimes I edit until my eyes cross and I have to walk away because it all begins to run together. But then I can come back to that same chapter a month later and finally see what I couldn't before. It's nice to know published authors can miss their mistakes too. And I love the title of your book. My favorite song is "Blue eyes" by Cary Brothers.

Thanks for the words of wisdom :)

Amber said...

Totally missed my typo. haha too funny. "I 'THOUGHT' I'd jump on in there." ;-P

Alysa said...

too funny! I guess its a good thing that "done" doesn't have to mean "perfect." :) Oh, and I can't resist pointing out that in your post it should be "gas pedal" not "gas peddle." Gotcha! ;)

Liz said...

I'm afraid I get so caught up in the story...that I don't pick things apart - I just go with it! ;)

Now I might have to start paying more attention!

Rosalyn said...

I just wanted to stop by and say congratulations on the TWO Whitney nominations! http://whitneyawards.com/wordpress/2011-finalists/

Janette Rallison said...

peddle-pedal . . . homonyms will be my downfall. And thanks for the congrats on being a Whitney Award finalist!

I have two books that are competing against each other. I don't know which to vote for . . .

Janie Emaus said...

This was a great blog as I'm just not putting the finishing touches on my edits for my debut novel. And I loved the poem.

Mary Marvella said...

Good blog! No matter how hard we try to read carefully we miss stuff. I catch a lot of things other have missed but still ....

Anonymous said...

When you say, "I had it copy edited, but the problem was that I also made changes to the manuscript per the copy editor's suggestions," do you mean that the copyeditor introduced new errors into the manuscript or that your revisions weren't re-edited?

Janette Rallison said...

The copy editor said things like: Elise is coming off as being too mean in this scene. Things like that. So I would go and rewrite a few sentences and lines of dialogue, thinking that I was being careful with the changes, but apparently not.