Dewey Defeats Truman

Even those books and movies that you know and love make mistakes.  Some are obvious, some are subtle; over time, they all come to the surface.  I’ve caught a few mistakes in my own copy recently that make me realize how difficult it is to write a coherent story incrementally.  This current project started in May or June of 2011, and is in its second draft as of today, May 2, 2012.  These are mistakes that I will correct before they reach my beta readers, or even my intended reader, who is eagerly awaiting her exclusive look at this piece.  All told, I am sure that there are a lot of mistakes that end up on the cutting room floor.

Oddly, these are mistakes that I should control, as they exist in my world.  There are other mistakes–I am sure that they are out there–that will probably surface because I didn’t do the appropriate research.  Perhaps Croatian phonemes don’t allow for a soft C, or a P and a B cannot be in the same word.  Whatever it is , I am sure that there’s something that I overlooked, where the creative mind took over and the analytical mind slept.

One of the two big mistakes I made was in the big reveal – not where Tad realizes that he’s actually crash landed on earth and that they’ve finally made a monkey out of him, but where a somewhat important piece of the family history is revealed once in one conversation and again in another.  Whoops!

I’m about 160,000 words through my second draft – editing doesn’t take that long when you’re so close to the book; that’s why I’ll have to wait a few months until I edit it again.  One thing that I have found interesting is that I’m having to do research for consistency: was that name spelled with one L or two? Was David a small forward or a shooting guard?  Is Steve a righty or a lefty?

Those are the mistakes that I need to avoid, and they primarily stem because this work has become serial.  That is, I write 1,000 words a night for eight nights, and then fifty words over the span of six nights.  Those are the embarassing mistakes, and they probably could have been avoided if I wrote a “bible” first.  A bible is what television series use to make sure that the various writers that write for a show don’t completely change the dynamics or backstory of the show. Sometimes that means continuing a mistake that is present from scene one, and sometimes that means continuing an underlying feeling, theme, or event that has not yet been revealed to the audience. Once that bible has been shoved to the side, credibility flies out the window.

Have you ever come across this problem?  Have you seen its results? If so, how did it make you feel. I’m curious. Leave your examples in the results.

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One Response to “Dewey Defeats Truman”

  1. Eamon Says:

    Always interesting when the ‘reality’ of a book or show or film becomes inconsistent. It’s jarring, but must be so hard to avoid. Although, some things (like the Simpsons) can get away with it because of sheer length of time.

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