Well, well, well. Week three and you’re still here, huh?
Thanks for sticking with me! This week’s post is a little less soap-boxy and more writing oriented. I’ll start it off with a small anecdote, though.
So, when I was 18, I worked as an office manager for a cleaning service in the small town I grew up in. My boss was very particular about cleaning, obviously. He had a huge pet peeve that he shared with me once. In movies, the scenes where someone would be mopping a floor, in almost all cases the mop was never wet. To him, it wasn’t realistic. It took him right out of whatever movie he was watching.
When Pepper Potts character in the first Iron Man movie is running across the steel catwalk in her spike heels in the big action scene toward the end, my thoughts turned from, “Oh. This is really intense,” to “Oh, hell no. She’s not running that quickly over something that’s riddled with holes. Her heel would have wedged in one of them and that heifer would be barefoot if this was real life”
Neither of these things are earth shattering, but they illustrate my point.
The old adage write what you know can really only take you so far. There will be times that research is required. It’s in your best interests to make sure that you know what you’re talking about. Spend an afternoon learning about elephant birth, fire restoration, flugelbinders and The Baker Act if you’re putting it in your book.
No matter how obscure the topic, there will be some soul out there that knows that a flugels just don’t bind in the way that you’ve described. They will write you an email to tell you all about it.
Read your work out loud once you’ve finished it. Spellcheck knows the difference between tehn and then.. but if you really meant to say than… someone out there will write you an email to tell you about it.
If you have named a meaningless character Ted, but accidentally call him Tad later on… Yep. You guessed it. Someone’s going to write you an email about it.
I’ll admit, it’s a little painful (but completely appreciated) when I get an email from someone about an error in my work. I like to put out a clean, polished product. Things inevitably slip by.
As a writer, you’re going to get feedback about all sorts of things. People will hate the cover of your book. Someone will dislike your style of dialog. Someone else will be ‘just not into the universe you’ve created’. Those are subjective.
Proper fleugel binding, poor grammar, and inconsistent naming are things that you (as the author) have control over. Don’t be lazy with them. People will remember.