The day was going to be Norman Rockwell perfect. White snow fell —

Screech! Okay, I stopped. Does snow come in another color, in this world?

Authors sometimes pen words that stop the reader cold and we all know that is the one thing we don’t want to happen. If they do, there is a possibility they will lay the book down, and there is that small chance they might never pick the novel up again. We want the reader to devour our words and flip pages until they reach the last word and then sigh contently. Shortly afterwards, we want them to anxiously scan Amazon for another book of yours. GRIN

So how do we make sure we don’t cause this former scenario to happen? Editing. A book doesn’t get edited only once. A book does not get edited by reading it over and over in sequence. Good editing happens when the author takes the time to study his or her wip for different elements in different ways, like reading only the dialogue or reading the chapters out of order or reading only a character’s pov throughout the book. Yes. All this editing takes time, but the end result is a highly polished manuscript. One where the reader will not stop.

Here are a few more mistakes I’ve either read or made myself.

His eyes slid to her. YEEWWW! That had to hurt.

It was so dark she couldn’t see the end of her nose. John’s gaze locked onto hers. WAIT, how could she see him if she couldn’t see her nose?

She stared through the door. Okay, I’m thinking our heroine has x-ray vision. The author probably meant she stared through the door’s window pane, but that is not what she said.

Do you have examples of edit mistakes to share?

18 comments

  1. rita // December 9, 2009 at 9:44 AM  

    Love this
    The guy gets out of a suburban and back into a pick-up.
    The killer dust the villain is spreading through two-thirds of the book is yellow and then is pink.
    The hero climbs out of the saddle but has to put the saddle back on to leave two minutes later.
    The H&H are immediately unlikeable they are having affairs, cheating their business partner, stealing candy for little kids. What is that sound? It’s the clunk of the book hitting the wall or landing in the trash.
    So love the kindle option of reading a couple of chapters before you buy. Have passed on several books.

    Whew!

  2. Autumn Jordon // December 9, 2009 at 10:38 AM  

    Hey, Rita. Great examples. Have you ever where the heroine jumps and then the door opens? I'm like she's psychic.

    I didn't know you could read a few chapters before buying. Even more reason to write a strong beginning.

    Thanks for stopping by,
    AJ

  3. Mary Marvella // December 9, 2009 at 11:11 AM  

    Flying body parts can make for a laugh when the writer didn't want a laugh.

    "Her eyes dropped to the floor and bounced." (Kidding on the last part.)

    "Her hands flew to her face." (Bad hands!)

    Now, I must say many readers don't know to be bothered by these things. I wasn't until I took some classes. We do need to make sure we don't create a visual that would stop a reader, though.

    Until recently we read omniscient point of view and weren't bothered by it but we should probably use it sparingly.

    "Little did he know his enemy was in the next room."

    "He didn't see the man standing behind him." Hmm. he smelled him? he heard him ? He didn't know the man was there at all?

  4. Diana Layne // December 9, 2009 at 11:29 AM  

    I once gave a snake a POV, and no it wasn't a fantasy book, lol.

  5. Autumn Jordon // December 9, 2009 at 11:43 AM  

    LOL. Mary, wonderful examples. You might be right, readers might not realize the craft mistakes, but then again maybe they do and that is why they'll read one author over another.

    Omniscient POV has to be done really well IMO, when it is inserted within the chapter. Usually at the beginning or end of chapter I have no problems, but throw it in the midst of deep POV it will always throw me off.

    Great thoughts.

    AJ

  6. Autumn Jordon // December 9, 2009 at 11:46 AM  

    A snake, LOL. I've read a dog and cat's POV. Interesting. You have me hooked, Diana.

  7. stefwithnf // December 9, 2009 at 3:13 PM  

    Great post Autumn! Snake POV? I did a 2nd person POV for an entire story once. The character was a climbing rosebush.

    It was for a fiction writing class in college...got me an A. :D

  8. Gwynlyn MacKenzie // December 9, 2009 at 3:15 PM  

    I adore "dancing eyes" myself, but never let them dance alone. They must dance with something---merriment, laughter, teasing, amusement---even so, that favorite of mine has become aneathma in today's very literal market. Sad.

    Read a book once where the hero's name changed from Jason to Justin (or possibly the other way around) about 3/4 of the way through. Another where the Mother-in-law had an identity crisis as well. Very disturbing.

  9. Autumn Jordon // December 9, 2009 at 3:19 PM  

    Thanks, Stef. And great job on the A. That would be interesting to read--the thoughts of a rose. Hmmmmm.

  10. Autumn Jordon // December 9, 2009 at 3:22 PM  

    Dancing eyes. Oh, I do like that too, Gwyn.

    I caught myself while editing Obsessed By Wildfire. Call the Sheriff Chief for awhile. I guess I forget what part of the country I was in.

    Sounds like the author might 've been working on two projects. I could see where that could happen, but don't you like editor would've caught the mistake? Yikes!

    AJ

  11. Mona Risk // December 9, 2009 at 3:41 PM  

    Autumn, you are so right. Hilarious. How about the hero who holds heroine with her back against his chest and manages to look in her eyes. Maybe through her head or her neck!.
    I wish I had the time now to collect some of the pearls that make me drop a book

  12. Autumn Jordon // December 9, 2009 at 5:28 PM  

    Oh, Mona, that is a great one.
    You know, every line, every phase, every word has to be scrutinized during editing. We've got to be our own worse critics.

    Thanks for commenting.

    AJ

  13. Mary Ricksen // December 9, 2009 at 5:28 PM  

    Hey I've seen gray, yellow and black with dirt snow!
    Seriously, editing is what makes a book!

  14. Joanne // December 9, 2009 at 6:18 PM  

    I have so many edit mistakes that I could, well, write a book!

  15. Mary Marvella // December 9, 2009 at 7:06 PM  

    Don't eat the yellow snow.

  16. Judy // December 10, 2009 at 8:00 AM  

    Great Blog, Autumn! I'm in the midst of deep editing a book I wrote a couple of years ago. EEEK! Many, many examples...But it feels good to clean them up or get them out of there! Thanks for an excellent post!

  17. Beth Trissel // December 10, 2009 at 10:56 AM  

    Great post! I'm sure I've made some of these mistakes.

  18. janice // December 10, 2009 at 4:01 PM  

    Good editing tips! Thanks!

    Janice Curran