“The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.” –Edward J. Phelps
I’ve gone through the galleys for The Ride. With trepidation, I hit the send button to return a list of corrections to ArcheBooks Publishers wondering if I missed something major. The manuscript has been edited by professionals and myself many times, but I still worry that readers may focus on my errors and not the story. I’m sure this apprehension and fear is familiar to all writers.
I try to ease my anxiety by reminding myself that if mistakes do crop up, and I’m sure they will, I’ll be in good company. At http://www.slipups.com/ I found a list of bloopers that have been found in books (movies, TV and quotes). I copied a few from well-known authors, with permission from the site, to share with you.
A Clockwork Orange, (Antony Burgess) - Anachronism?
In his Introduction, Blake Morrision states that the book is set "somewhere in Europe, circa 1972". But when Alex and his droogs steal the car from the cinema car park, we're told it's a 95 model -- and I don't think Burgess meant 1895...
Carrie (Stephen King) - Back from the Dead
In part two "Prom Night" (about 22 pages in), Margaret White is thinking back to a time when Carrie was not quite 1 year old. She almost killed Carrie, but her husband Ralph stopped her. Yet earlier in part one "Blood Sport" (about 8 pages in) we learned that Ralph died about 7 months before Carrie was born!
Cujo (Stephen King) - Olives and Cucumbers
Before going out to Camber's garage with Tad, Donna packs a lunch box (in my book it's on page 142 -- King doesn't use chapters in Cujo). She wraps green olives and cucumber slices in foil. Later, when they eat the food (page 165) she is "holding the Tupperware dish with the olives and slices of cucumbers inside, each wrapped neatly in Saran wrap".
The Green Mile (Stephen King) - Percy and the Strait Jacket
In Chapter Two of "Coffey On The Mile" Paul Edgecomb rips the tape off of Percy's mouth. Percy rubs his lips, then lowers his hand to demand release while still strapped in the straitjacket with his arms behind him.
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
At the end of The Great Gatsby, Mr. Gatz (Gatsby's father) showed Nick a copy of the book Hopalong Cassidy that Gatsby had used to write a schedule on September 12, 1906. The book Hopalong Cassidy was written in 1907 and published in 1910, so it's impossible that Gatsby could have had it in 1906.
A Man in Full, (Tom Wolfe) - 6 or 8?
On page 199 near the bottom, Wolfe writes, "There was only the hexagonal shape to remind you that it was a stop sign." (Hexagonal=six sides) All the stop signs where I live are octagonal (eight sides).
The Bone Collector, (Jeffery Deaver) - Spare Uniform
On the first page of Chapter 28, Amelia Sachs removes and flings away off her gasoline-soaked police uniform blouse before entering a burning church. 3 pages later in the church basement she cuts a patch off of her uniform blouse to protect her hand from the hot handle of a fire extinguisher. (pages 342 & 345 of paperback edition.)
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, (Stephen King) - Aren't Editors Paid to Edit?
During the game against the Yankees where Gordon saves the game, Jason Varitek is mentioned a few times but his name is spelled wrong. It's spelled Veritek. The first time I saw it I thought it was just an innocent editing mistake - but it's spelled with an "E" instead of an "A" every time.
Kiss the Girls (James Patterson) - Kate's Eyes
Toward the beginning of the book, Detective Alex Cross describes Kate as having blue eyes. Some chapters into the book, he mentions her big, brown eyes. He mentions her eye color quite a few times throughout the book, and on two of those occasions, they are said to be blue. The rest of the time, Detective Cross says her eyes are brown.
I have to admit I have read most of these books and did not notice the errors. I guess when I am caught up in a good story, I grant full creative freedom to the author and seldom stop to say, “Hey, that can’t happen,” or “Now what color was her hair, eyes, etc.”
What about you? Are you good at spotting mistakes? Have you found other author errors? If so, I’d love to hear about them.
If you haven’t done so already, please enter the “Guess the Publication Date, II” contest. Simply leave a comment with the month, day and year that you think The Ride will be released or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. But hurry, the contest ends on August 15.
Thanks for stopping by. See you next week.
Jane Kennedy Sutton
Author of The Ride (to be released by ArcheBooks Publishing)
Tags: The Ride, Archebooks, Clockwork Orange, Carrie, Cujo, Green Mile, Great Gatsby, A Man in Full, Bone Collector,Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Kiss the Girls, bloopers