Those Blasted Mistakes!

(These were initially posted on in Summer 2007.  I’m reposting them here, as they are no longer available there.)

Okay, so what mistakes bother you most in a book? Typos? Anachronisms, verbal and/or physical? Gaps in the plot? Characters chiming in who are so NOT in the scene? Are any of these a wall-banger for you? Do some not bother you much at all, but others are enough to make you abandon the book? Do tell!

Unfortunately, my antennae have become so hypersensitive that I spot almost everything, and all of it bothers me. Horribly.

I picked up an old historical yesterday, thinking “Yeah, I can read this.” It’s a medieval, set in the late Eleventh Century. Dipping in, the very first page I look at has the hero in a cotton shirt! Cotton! Cotton isn’t even in the Oxford English Dictionary until 1300, and it was a luxury fabric until well into the 18th Century! His shirt was linen, for heaven’s sake. Or wool. Okay, calm down, try again. Try another page. So I look farther in, and it’s talking about someone’s horse, and makes a reference to the horse’s FRONT PAWS! So much for THAT book.

Now transfer this discussion to your own writing. What is especially important to you? What really has to be perfect for you, however much time and effort it takes, and what are you willing to let slide?

BTW, this weeks’ blogging is just us working together, exploring sources, sharing research methods, cleaning up mistakes and having fun. If you want to discuss your WIP with me personally, send me a personal message.