Tag Archives: Novels

Novel Mistakes

5 May

 

WritingComputer

Despite being paid to be an editor for other people in my professional life, I’m horrible at editing my own stuff. Everyone is; as a rule, you are always blind to your own stupid mistakes, especially in writing. So in order to rework some of my older stuff into passable novels, about a week ago I downloaded a writing program called Scrivener. It’s great so far. It allows me to make every chapter a separate entry, write up note card synopses for each one, and even color code them to mark where I need to edit. By dividing the novels into outline form, I can clearly see where I should rearrange and cut things.

But this post is not really about how great Scrivener is. It’s about how silly I am.

While working on a YA novel I wrote a number of years ago, I discovered a huge error: when I reached chapter 37, for some unknown reason, I went back to chapter 30 in the headers. In other words, I wrote a book that had chapters numbered 1-37, and then 30-45 all over again. This is a book that’s been read by people I respect and edited many times over.

Sigh.

Granted, this was the book I wrote during my only successful NaNoWriMo, so it was produced in a fever of not caring about mistakes until later. A few glaring errors were to be expected. When my wonderful critique group read it, oh-so-long-ago, they caught (almost) all of the worst writing flummoxes. For example, in a tense section towards the end, my MC is on her balcony, looking out into the back yard, trying to see what’s lurking out there in the dark. It’s supposed to be a slightly scary scene. This is what I wrote:

“Katie leaned over the railing and peed into the night. “

Um…yeah.

When I brought  in my synopsis letter, my critique group, thank god, caught another obvious mistake before I started mailing it off. In this book, one of the characters has a guide animal who’s missing a leg. In the synopsis, I repeatedly referred to him as the “one-legged dog.” Picture that for just a moment. Yup. I should’ve just named him Pogo and gotten it over with.

This is just one novel. I shudder to think what I’ll find in the next one. And I refuse to put my already published books in Scrivener to look at. I just flat out don’t want to know.

What writing mistakes have you made that you couldn’t  believe when you found them? Please, leave them in the comments to make me feel better about this embarrassing post. It would help, really. Thanks! 

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Anti-SAD and Nerd Nightmares

27 Apr

A lot of my friends suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). All winter, they fight melancholy and lethargy and long for the sun to come back so they can get back to normal. They grumble about not being able to get up in the morning without a sun lamp and grouse about needing more coffee. All winter, it’s hell for them.

I don’t have that problem.

In fact, this year, I’m realizing that I may suffer from Anti-SAD, or SODD as one friend calls it (Seasonal Oppositional Defiant Disorder). I don’t hate winter. I love it. I love to nest and stay inside in the cold weather, to watch the rain run down the windows, to have hot tea by roaring fire, to sleep under five blankets. I love that I can stay in and work, without people mowing their lawns at 8 am or chatting as they walk their dogs past my window or asking me to go do outdoor stuff that will only lead to sunburns and heat stroke on my part. I love that winter encourages people to go home early because it’s dark and cold. It’s much more acceptable to leave a party if it’s already full dark at 7 pm. As much as I love being social, I also love that option. Winter is the introvert season.

Reading in Winter

This is not me but you get the idea…

Summer, on the other hand, is the extrovert season. Everybody goes out. On a sunny day, an introvert like me can’t just pop down to the diner for some quiet writing time because everyone I know is there. I get strange looks at the grocery store when the clerk asks if I’m enjoying the weather and I say I’ve been reading in bed all morning. And the worst part? I sleep A LOT more. Every afternoon, when the sun is drowning the world in its horrible heat, I start to fall asleep. It’s involuntary. My eyes just won’t stay open. I want to go crawl into my dim room, turn on a loud fan to block the noises outside, and check out for as long as I can.

And when I do, I have nerd nightmares from being too warm. I hate the nerd nightmares most of all.

In the winter, I don’t have these kinds of nightmares. In the winter, my nightmares are conventional: being hunted by zombies or taking a test naked. But when the weather starts to warm up? My nightmares, they do change.

In the heat, I dream about being hit on by Wil Wheaton. I truly have nothing against Mr. Wheaton, but I don’t want to date him, in real life or otherwise. In the dream, I repeatedly tell him that I can’t hook up with him because 1) I have a fabulous boyfriend already, and 2) Mr. Wheaton is married himself. But he just keeps trying to lay down and put his head on my lap. It’s extremely uncomfortable. Then the dream morphs, as dreams do, and I’m with a bunch of people I used to know a long time ago. One of them, a guy I never really liked and haven’t actually seen in years, proudly shows me his extremely long novel. He’s just printed it out. On my printer. Which was almost out of ink before and now has none. I get really annoyed because now I can’t print out my novel. He doesn’t seem to care and everyone ignores me to congratulate him.

Then I wake up, sweaty and pissed off. The sun from the slats in the window shade blinds me. My dog starts barking because she senses a cat cleaning itself on the patio. Someone next door yells to their friends over the sounds of jazz music at their garden party.

And I fight melancholy and lethargy and long for the sun to go away so I can get back to normal. I grumble about not being able to stay awake because of the heat and grouse about needing more coffee. And for some odd reason, my suddenly cheerful and productive friends just don’t seem to understand, even when I tell them about the nerd dreams. They just don’t get it.