The mistakes I have made
Have you ever read a book and noticed a major mistake, something like the hero’s eye colour changing mid way or a historical fact being wrong? The more you read, the more you will come across these and I thought I would spend today’s blog on this theme – and invite you to leave comments on the ones you have spotted. This is a form of I-Spy for book lovers!
Some mistakes do not belong to the author. Little things can get changed by an over zealous copy editor or an auto correct. In the first edition of my book, The Ship Between the Worlds, a fantasy pirate adventure, some gremlin had got hold of the list of chapters and changed chapter eleven from ‘Walking the Plank’ to ‘Walking the Plant’. Hmm, a very different chapter that would be! It was corrected in later print runs.
Most mistakes, however, are the author’s fault. I notice them most when I read historical romances by American authors set in England. I believe they crop up because the writers assume they know us but don’t. I’m sure it works the other way too (and I’ve made my own mistakes here). My favourites are a romantic walk where the young couple watch the turtles in the rivers of the English countryside – oops – and to read posh butlers offering to ‘fix’ a plate of food for someone rather than ‘help’ or ‘serve’.
Time to ‘fess up myself. I made a mistake in one of my Cat Royal books. Croquet wasn’t called this until 1820s onwards and before that rejoiced under the name Pall Mall (a corruption of a French word). I had my characters playing the game under the wrong name thirty years too early. I changed it for the American edition. You see, historical research carries on after the book is published and I’m sure I’m not alone in the ‘I-could-kick-myself’ reaction when I realise I’ve missed a trick.
So tell me, what have you noticed or what mistake, if you are a writer, do you wish to get off your chest?