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Monday, June 25, 2012

Fiction Errors

I took some time last week and immersed myself in fiction. In one week, I read 5 novels. It took a lot of time that I wasn't sure that I was really willing to give, but I learned so much! I normally write non-fiction, however originally I did write fiction (though I never published any of it), and I have been contemplating picking it up again (maybe for NaNoWriMo?).

The biggest thing that stuck out to me as I read was the importance of having a content editor. Even though each book was published through a traditional publishing house, only two of them didn't contain errors. In one of my favorites, the two main characters were talking and one of them assured the other that they shouldn't feel guilty about something that happened when they were only seven... the problem with this was that no where in the book did anyone mention the age that he was when it happened. Not in his own thoughts or in their very short conversation... That's an error. In another book, they continually called a character by an unrelated character's last name. I couldn't tell you why, but it drove me nuts and made no sense.

Out of the 5 books that I read, only two of them did not contain such errors... That's a problem. While the story's themselves were well written and very engaging, they probably won't make my list of recommendations or be authors that I search out to read more from. Authors who write fiction need to know that these errors are the worse kind that you can have. They are worse then spelling mistakes or punctuation errors, and coming from an editor that's a really big thing for me to say. 

So the moral of the story is, fiction authors MUST have content editors or beta readers that can point out these errors. They looked sloppy, plain and simple. Now, I'm not saying that I'm perfect by any means, and as I said, I haven't written fiction in years, but when/if I resume working in fiction, these will be the things that I look for the most. And I highly recommend that other fiction authors do the same. 

I do want to mention the two books that I read that didn't contain errors as I very much appreciated them: 

(a new favorite author)

A true historical fiction novel. Jody Hedlund started with the historical story of the first two american women to cross the continental divide and creatively weaved fact and fiction into this captivating novel. 

The book was wonderfully brought to a close by the authors note at the end detailing which parts were fact, and which were purely from her imagination. This beautiful story is one that I will most likely never forget as I look for more books from this magnificent author.


by Cara Lynn James

Even though this book had a slower start then most of the romance novels I have read recently, I actually found it to be one of the most believable. Ms. James is an awesome writer and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.


  1. Thanks for the kind words about my book, Heather! I'm grateful that my publisher does such a fantastic job with their editing. I know not every traditional publisher can put the same emphasis on editing, especially in today's tough market. So I imagine we will be seeing more and more mistakes, unfortunately.

    1. Thank YOU, Jody for being such an amazing author! I was totally bummed when Lori Wick stopped putting out new works, but I must say that I look forward to reading the rest of yours as "The Doctor's Lady" was simply fantastic!

  2. Such a timely post for me, Heather! I'm just finishing up the fine-tune edits on my first book and it's been intimidating to want to get it as perfect as possible. I'm so glad I have a great editorial team and as I make this last pass, I'm praying that the Lord will direct me to any mistakes. :)


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