I started reading a new book this morning. It’s a historical mystery set in medieval England and I was looking forward to a quiet half-hour with a cup of tea and an intriguing story. Three pages in I tripped over a fact that seemed utterly ridiculous given the setting of the story. It simply made no sense, so instead of immersing myself in a medieval mystery I spent an hour reading up on population levels and settlement sizes. Interesting stuff all by itself, but not what I’d had in mind for starting the day with.
Things like that happen, of course. Sometimes, it’s a remnant from an earlier edit. Sometimes, twiddly fingers are at fault. Or it could be a thought train jumping a few tracks at a time. I remember “inventing” a directional microscope at one point and not spotting my error however many times I read over the chapter.
It’s a good thing, then, that writing books isn’t a solo endeavour. It’s a team sport and in my experience there’s an excellent chance that a beta reader, editor or the proofreaders will pick up on the slip and point it out.
For Leap of Faith, which is getting its final polish as I write, I had long chats about possible injuries with medically educated friends. I asked a ton of questions and took a stack of notes. The story went through a raft of edits and should have been pretty much sorted before it went into the proofreading stage. Instead, it came back with “This looked strange to me. My husband, who’s a nurse, agrees.”
Once I’d stopped hyperventilating and had checked my notes I realised that I had used a term describing one injury when talking about the other one. Because those terms all belong to that particular scene, at least as far as my mind is concerned, I had no chance of catching that one. The proofreaders spotted it, though. Along with a lone pair of trainers left at the bottom of the stairs…
I have good reason to be ever so grateful to eagle-eyed proofreaders. I hate being yanked out of a story by something that just doesn’t belong. I don’t want to do it to anyone reading my stuff. The chance of a slip up is always there, but with a good editing and proofreading team, it’s a lot smaller than it would be if I sat here by myself.
As for the finished product… I’m just waiting for the galley proofs and then Leap of Faith will be ready to go. If you’d like to see the gorgeous cover Garrett Leigh made for the book before anyone else does, and read a sneak peek of the story at the same time why not subscribe to my newsletter? I’m not a crazily fast writer, so I won’t bother you much… 🙂