What's the biggest blunder you made in a manuscript and did you catch it before publication?
By Vicki Delany (AKA Eva Gates)
I’m back! Did you miss me? Probably not, as you’ve had the wonderful R.J. Harlick taking my place. R.J. and I had the great pleasure of being together on a writers retreat last week and she asked if I’d like to do a guest blog for 7 Criminal Minds. I jumped at the chance, because I do miss it and the wonderful writer friends I made here.
I love the question for this week. What's the biggest blinder you made in a manuscript and did you catch it before publication?
As I now have two writing names, I will give two answers, if I may.
Vicki Delany: It was for the fourth Constable Molly Smith novel, Negative Image. I’d written the book, it had been edited, the ARC came out, I proofed the ARC, the copy editor copy-edited. And then I gave a copy of the ARC to one of my daughters to read. And she immediately found two problems, one small one very big. First, one of the characters was watching an NLH game. Never heard of the NLH? Neither had I. It was, of course, supposed to be the NHL. I guess we can forgive the nice people down in Phoenix for not knowing what the National Hockey League is. The second error was far more problematic. I’d given a minor character the same last name as one of the recurring characters. As those two never spoke to each other, I didn’t even notice (nor did my editors) but about halfway through the book my daughter said, “why is XX not worried about what happened to her daughter?” Huh? I replied. She’d read half the book wondering when the character XX was going to do something that in reality had nothing to do with her.
In this instance I was able to shout: Stop the presses! I was in time, and the fixes were made before it went to print.
|Looks black to me!|
Eva Gates: Charles the library cat (named after Mr. Dickens) is an important character in the new Lighthouse Library series from Penguin/Random House. Charles is a Himalayan. We wanted a cat that would look nice on the book jacket and have a great personality. I don’t have cats, nor am I an expert in cat genetics and breeding thereof. So I went to the Internet to look up pictures of Himalayans, and used what I saw to describe Charles in the first book in the series, By Book or By Crook. Ooops. Apparently what looks like black fur in a picture isn’t really black, and Himalayans do not have the genes that could produce black fur. Nor are they capable of growing to be almost thirty pounds without being extraordinary obese.
Yes, that got into the finished book, and yes, someone who does know about the genetics of Himalayans corrected me in a review. In the next novel, Booked for Trouble, Charles has dark brown and tan fur and his actually poundage is never mentioned.
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers, author of the Constable Molly Smith police procedural series, standalone Gothic thrillers, and the Klondike Gold Rush books, as well as Rapid Read novellas including the forthcoming Haitian Graves. Under the pen name Eva Gates she is writing the new Lighthouse Library cozy mystery series from Penguin Random House, set in a historic lighthouse on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The first in the series is By Book or By Crook. Look for Booked for Trouble in September 2015.
A former computer programmer and systems analyst, Vicki lives and writes in bucolic Prince Edward County Ontario. She is the current President of Crime Writers of Canada.