I go through a lot of revisions. Before even submitting a story to a publisher, it’s quite possible that I’ve combed through it at least ten times before sending it in. This does not include the rather complex system of beta readers I have, each with their specific purpose in vetting my story. Does the concept make sense? How are the characters? Does everyone remember to take their shoes off with the rest of their clothes during sex? Did I use that semicolon correctly?
Overkill. I know this.
Yet there are still errors.
My editors at all my publishing houses are excellent. They find stuff that no one before them found. They spot plot holes I hadn’t even considered. I may grumble and grouse about how they want me to butcher my work of art, but after the first few minutes I get over it because they’re usually right. I make those edits. I start to feel good. Comfortable, even.
Below are two short passages from two different novels. Non spoiler, but both containing pretty horrifying typos. Typos that were caught in the late stages of editing--in the case of Lone, the final pass before the manuscript was set to go to the printers.
He grinned and walked around to the side of the house, where an older man was shopping wood. He had the same Dirisio jet-black hair, with shocks of white at his temples.
Should have been:
He grinned and walked around to the side of the house, where an older man was chopping wood. He had the same Dirisio jet-black hair, with shocks of white at his temples.
From One Shot my upcoming novella:
Riley touched our noses together. “And, for the record, I don’t think you’re sexier than me.”
Should have been:
Riley touched our noses together. “And, for the record, I don’t think I’m sexier than you.”
Two TOTALLY different meanings there, gaw.
Now, let me just say that I like to think of myself as pretty good at catching my own mistakes. I know my beta readers rock, and my editors are amazing. Still, though it was no one’s fault, the above errors were a last minute catch, and every time something like that happens I ask myself compulsively “What if we hadn’t…?”
Which, of course, inevitably leads to “I wonder what else we didn’t…?”
And suddenly I’m staring up at my ceiling fan at four in the morning.
Part of being a writer is letting your cherished story go. For me, “letting go” means not looking at the book months (if not a full year) after it’s out there. Even now I suspect there’s a spelling error in Lone but I refuse to look. At this point there’s nothing I can do about it and who needs the stress?
By the time a story of mine goes to publication, I’m so sick at the mere mention of the title that my stomach twists. But eventually I always go back, read through it again. I can honestly say that even though I sometimes cringe at a turn of phrase or grammar error, I’ve never been ashamed of any of my stories. Now that I’ve gone through this process with five releases, it’s a comforting thought, despite my tendency to freak out.
So that’s one of the things that keeps me up at night. I’d wager I’m not the only writer out there who goes through it. As usual, there’s no real point to this post. Just thought I’d share that a part of me lives in a constant state of fear. :)