Mistakes Were Made

This week’s topic is taking me right back to one of my favorite parts of the writing process: copyedits.

Copyedits are the most detail-oriented, downright nitpicky phase of editing. Other people might find them tedious or annoying, but I LOVE them. My petty perfectionist heart was filled with delight throughout the whole process. I actually think if I hadn’t become a writer, I could have had a very happy career as a copyeditor.

My eagle-eyed copyeditor flagged a number of potentially embarrassing mistakes (that’s her job after all), including a misspelling of a restaurant in my own damn neighborhood in Chicago. There were a few other errors that remained in the manuscript until first pass pages, though. Like in one scene, Joanna walks in completely the wrong direction to get on a specific bus. Probably no one will notice except me, even if they’re from Chicago and ride that bus on the regular, but I still cringed when I saw it printed in the ARC.

Now I’m listening to the Temper audiobook (which is phenomenal, I couldn’t be happier with the narrators, Jayme Mattler and Hillary Huber) and of course finding more mistakes to cringe over. Some of them are on me, others happened during the recording process (like the mispronunciation of a certain Chicago theater company’s name).

The thing is, as hard as it is for a petty perfectionist like me to accept it, no book is published without bloopers or errors. You’ve got a whole team of smart people working on the project, but we’re only human, and humans make mistakes. The book can never be perfect, but it can be done, and that’s even better.

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Layne Fargo

Layne Fargo is a thriller author with a background in theater and library science. She’s a Pitch Wars mentor, a member of the Chicagoland chapter of Sisters in Crime, and the cocreator of the podcast Unlikeable Female Characters. Layne lives in Chicago with her partner and their pets.

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