Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dealing with Disaster

I thought my current manuscript, Maker of Angels, was done when I recently submitted it to two publishers for consideration. I was WRONG!

Not wrong about it being submitted, sure enough, I got it into the hands of decision-makers. What was wrong is that the manuscript is not DONE. After countless edits by me and reviews by six beta readers (including two professionals, two writers, one cowboy and an up-and-coming copy editor), I found a glaring spelling error that none of us caught.


"How could something like this happen?" I thought. "More importantly, what am I going to do about it?"

What's my terrible mistake? I wrote a western romance and failed to spell "corral" correctly. Can you believe such a stupid mistake? Corral, a common western word and I messed it up. Yikes! That word showed up nine times in the whole document, and I spelled it "c o r a l" . . . EVERY STINKING TIME.

I feel like a fool. I even recall questioning that spelling while I was writing and made a mental note to check on it in the first edit. Then, I forgot, not once, but through half a dozen edits.
Should I keep silent? Should I hope it slips past the acquisition editor like it did everyone else? After all, it has already passed more than a dozen eyes without notice?

Honesty is the best policy, or at least, I hope so. Here's what I did. I sent out the corrected manuscript along with a brief note of apology to the editors involved. I'm owning my mistake. Will my faux pas kill my chances for a contract? I hope not, but we'll see. I'll let you know when decisions are made.

I need a Snickers. They make everything better!


  1. You should consider firing your editors. LOL.

    Those pesky spelling mistakes. No matter how hard you look, one always slips through the gap.

    When I wrote my first manuscript back in '99, I didn't realise Word was pre-set to U.S. English. I learned all the American spellings of words instead of the English. Instead of the suffix 'ise', I was using 'ize'. For example, realize or realise. Instead of two L's, I was using one. For example, 'dialing' or 'dialling'. I knew in my gut that something was off with the spellings, but I trusted Word's grammar package. A big mistake, as it turned out.

    A couple of years into writing, and having all those spellings in my head, I sat down to read a book by an English man and immediately realised the problem. If I hadn't, I would probably still be using the American spellings today.

    P.S. I was just after finishing high school when I started writing and never had any interest in English (I got an F). My spelling at the beginning was atrocious, which is one of the reasons why I didn't pick up on the cultural differences sooner.

    1. Dan, the flunked-high-school-English club made me a charter member. I recall telling my English teacher that she was full of crap, that I did not need to know past tense from past perfect as long as I could talk to others effectively. She would roll over in her grave if she knew I became a

      By the way, for any of my readers who love action-packed stories about war, espionage and black ops, check out Dan's flagship book, Dereliction of Duty. The action is non-stop, detailed and exciting.

  2. I am not sure it will make a big difference either way. No manuscript is going to be perfect, ever. As an editor for a small ezine, I saw things like this on occasion. It was an easy fix, much easier than plot holes and inconsistencies. But I understand your frustration and concern. Best of luck with Maker of Angels!

    1. Thank you, Terry. You are right . . . as usual.

      Definition of disaster: that which happens when a minor problem collides with OCD! I plead guilty.

      To anyone reading this, I have never been a fan of the fantasy genre characters, zombies. In fact, I was SO anti-zombie that I would not even begin to read a book that mentioned them. Terry's book Flank Hawk changed my opinion. His character building, complex and intriguing plot carried me into thrilling world building. Like Dan's Dereliction of Duty, Flank Hawk is a story I am glad I got to enjoy.


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