Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Found a story flaw

So today's plan was this: Work on the novel manuscript edits. I'm editing my novel manuscript for hopefully the last time before I send it out to agents. I have not sent these pages out; just the queries. But I'm going to start aiming for agents I haven't yet queried only because they won't accept e-queries, and one particular agent requests sample pages with the query. (I know I have said before that there's nothing wrong with sending an e-query. Really, there isn't! A lot of my published work got accepted with e-queries. But I'm running out of agents to query who accept the e-queries and that means it's time to focus on agents who want snail mail. I'll go bankrupt sending ALL of them snail mail queries and samples, so I have to pick just a few select agents, and only the ones worth their stuff, at a time.)

I started working on the edits, one eye on whether anything came up with any of my current book projects. Finding nothing and not having many leads to follow, I decided to just go for it. Get some work done on those edits!

Now this is a manuscript I have been editing and revising for a looong time. Longer than I would like to admit. So you can imagine the numerous times I have gone over certain scenes and dialogue.

Which is why I couldn't believe it when I caught a glaring mistake in the very first chapter. I won't give out the details, but I'll just say that a character I have in this scene doing something should NOT have been there, because he was only a baby at that time. Not a grown man.

He was still in his cloth diapers at that point in time!


I couldn't believe it. Wow, what a mistake to make! GAH! I was stunned I even caught it, because I should have caught it long ago. I should have latched on to that months ago. Several drafts ago.

Well, maybe someone would have caught it if they'd read the whole manuscript. As it is, my beta readers only read the first few chapters or first half of it, never the whole thing. Same goes with agents I've sent partials to.

Still, I did send the whole darn thing to a publishing company, and the editor didn't even catch that mistake!

So maybe it's just not one of those mistakes many people look out for. Really, you wouldn't notice it just by reading that one chapter. But you WOULD notice it later on, after you get this character's history later on in the story. It'd be like, 'Hey, wait a second. Wasn't he supposed to be just born right when that happened??'

Grr. I'm only glad I caught it now. Now, when I'm sending these sample pages out. It wouldn't hurt anything, because it's only the first chapter and not the whole manuscript. But it's still a mistake that needs to be fixed.

And I am relieved it's a mistake that I did finally catch. Took me long enough to catch it, though.

After I caught this mistake, I decided that I really should create a timeline, just to be sure who is at what age, or alive or dead, at certain points in a story. Timelines are a good thing to have to keep track of everyone and everything! And I'm making a note that perhaps I really should use a timeline for future novels I write -- just to be on the safe side.

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  • At 2:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


    Don't worry, you're not alone. I'm on my one-millionth revision (or so it seems) and I still find stupid errors.

    That is wicked funny though- the guy being an infant at the time...

  • At 3:52 PM , Blogger Dawn Wilson said...

    Thanks, Gypsy. Yeah, I know. LOL That woulda really been a real forehead-slapper if it got into print!


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