Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Update #9 AIEEEEE!!!! oops

I've spent a lot of time this week shrieking about mistakes you've made and tearing out my hair about it.  High entertainment value I know...for you and my colleagues who have taken to buying earplugs and vats of chamomile tea. The SharklyAssist has taken to hiding under her desk when steam starts coming out my ears.

Today however is different.

Today the shoe is on the other fin.

Today are the mistakes *I* have made...so far.

Here's the first:

As you know I hate prologues. With an almighty passion. Almost as much as I hate anachronisms.  So when I read a query letter that said 1810 historical mystery and the first sentence of the manuscript had the words "plastic soldiers" I figured "prologue". Skim skim skim.  Pages go by. L. Ron Hubbard makes an appearance.  What the almighty font is going on here?

I start to email the author: I think you sent me the wrong manuscript.

I start a blog post: Huff! Puff! Check your work!!



I notice the name at the end of the query is NOT the name attached to the entry number.
I have pasted the WRONG query to the manuscript.

Back into the gmail archives. Aha! Yes indeed. There is the correct query.
Cut/paste/upload revised mss to Dropbox.

Delete email.
Delete blog post.


Here's the second:

I see "I lay in the gutter" in the first page of a manuscript.
Misuse of lie/lay/laid makes me CRAZY. I see it all the time.

I start a blog post with AIEEEEEEE and prepare to flay you all for misuse of "lay"



That is the correct use of the word lay.

I emailed the author just to share my pain and humiliation.

Look, we're all in this together.  You make mistakes. I make mistakes. Nobody is going to die over lack of a doublespaced manuscript (well, not until I am Queen of the Known Universe and then WATCH OUT!) and no one is going to lose their access to the internet over a stupid email email address or signature. Reformatting manuscripts isn't going to actually kill me (if it could, I'd be dead now.)

The hard part is both behind us and ahead.  Behind us in that the hard part is writing and finishing and polishing a novel. And you did that. Sure some of the formatting needs work, but you wrote, and finished and polished a novel. That ain't small potatoes.

Ahead of us is sorting out finalists. From what I'm reading here you've done some brilliant work and how to choose the winner is going to be a daunting task. Sufficient to say, it's not going to be based on whether you doublespaced or where you put your page numbers or even what you chose as a file name for your manuscript.

Unless of course it was JanetReidIsAQueryBunny.doc

Then all bets are OFF.


TC Avey said...

Yeah, I'm not seeing you as a fluffy bunny...but I haven't seen your ears. Are they large? He,he

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

As long as it isn't a bunny-squisher kind of day...

And thanks for the reminder that the errors we drive ourselves bonkers over aren't worth pulling our hair out over!

Lanette said...

But I was being cute when I called you a query bunny.

Pat Anvil said...

Some of the peskiest errors are hardest to spot when reading, like trial/trail, but very easy to spot when you use text to speech software. I run my stuff through it at least once.

Jessa Russo said...

Well. As if there weren't already enough reasons to want to strangle me, I included a prologue. *ducks head*

In truth, I despise prologues as well. In fact, I usually skip them or just skim through them quickly. However, in this story, I couldn't figure out how to avoid it.

Don't hate me. ;-)

Rick said...

Ugh, I am awful at this but so far as I'm concerned, lay/lie can day/die.

Bill Cameron said...

Prologues are awesome.

Janet Reid said...

Well, prologues that end with "It wasn't till he was home, halfway through the laundry and feeling especially slick, that he realized he'd left his fucking gloves on the ground next to her dead body" are awesome.

Everything else...open to debate.

Kregger said...

I think we have seen the blooming of a new species, sharkly attitude with a smattering of human DNA.

Who new?

(Ok, do I leave it and hope they know I'm being funny, or hope no one thinks I can't spell?)

Single malts all around! Or, in my case, sigle barrel Kentucky bourbon.

Huntress said...

'confidant' and 'confident' kicked my ass.

Oh. And then:
'conjunction' and 'contraction'

'releaf' 'relief'
GAHHH. I could go on but chocolate is calling my name.

Jessa Russo said...

I'm going back to add the f*bomb to my prologue.

Cindy C said...

I didn't submit anything, but I'm grateful to all of you who did! I take copious notes after every update right, after I stop laughing. The updates and the comments are highly entertaining and highly educational.

Ellen said...

Now, you know if you are ever suicidal enough to have another one of these contests, JanetReidIsAQueryBunny.doc is what EVERY entry will be titled... ;)

Charley said...

Hey, some of you think *your* mistakes are dumm (RLStevenson's spelling in Treasure Island)? Mine was so unique it didn't even warrant a blog post. Janet sent an email helping me out. I'd done the word count wrong. Arghhhh!

And I called what might have been a prologue "Chapter One," which is pushing things. And I avoid flashbacks like anything (so overdone), yet memories seemed by far the best way to tell this particular story, and that may be another reader's pet peeve.

Ah, well, we tell things as best we can. 'Tis a subjective sea we're swimming in, surrounded by hungry, um, you know.

jan said...

Thank you for this.

Krista McLaughlin said...

Lay/lie - laid/lied

They are pretty annoying. But your mistake sounds like an oops. I once sent a text message to my friend Molly instead of my Mommy. Awkward.

lightfootosolage said...

Seriously, it's time to pick the finalists? I must have read that wrong. I must be assuming that the number of "no way in hell" manuscripts are 100+ and the "yeah maybe" entries number in the teens. Please, let me be wrong.

As a matter of record, for those of us following not just our chances but the entire contest in general, how many judges are there? Is it just you or are there many judges that you hold in high regard? Enough at least to give them a yay/nay vote on whether or not to pass the novels to you for consideration.

I ask this because often there are contests for debut authors (outside the Writers Digest contests and the like) where we submitters have no clue who will be reading our works. However grateful we are for the chance, it would be nice to know who is being included in the judging process.

For me, I haven't tried many contests so I have no idea how these things work outside of the stated rules and requirements. I am, however, interested in how the contest world works on the back end.

The conference registration that comes with the winnings is not a "cheap" conference and by my understanding (novice as it is) it is a highly respected one that has launched many careers and long-lasting agent/writer relationships. What made you pick this particular venue to award? Is it special to your relationship with Liz Norris or is the conference in itself dear to you?

Not being nosy, just curious. I can't thank you enough for giving us aspiring novelists a chance to recreate the magic you experienced with Liz.

Bonnee Crawford said...

At least you can admit to your own mistakes and have a good laugh about everyone else's without absolutely slaughtering them... or at least, you make it entertaining for the bystanders such as myself!

Thomas said...

The word "mistake" in your remarks should be "mistakes"

Janet Reid said...

Hard to believe I proof read that twice before posting isn't it. Fixed. Thanks.

Rayna said...

I heard someone say recently, "Failure IS an option!" I wouldn't know most of what I know today if I hadn't screwed something up the first time around. And besides, I just love flawed characters. People that appear to never make mistakes make me nervous. :)

Bill Cameron said...

Bwa hah hah.