The Deal Breaker

19 Oct

I was reading a book yesterday, one recommended by a friend and I have to tell you that I enjoyed it.  It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to sit down and read without interruption or without the material being geared toward a topic to improve my craft.  It was nice because it was pure pleasure reading. 🙂

On occasion, I’m amazed when I am reading a story, engrossed in the characters, the scene, the story then—WHAM—a misspelled word or a missing word or a duplicate word jumps out at me like they are printed in bold and outlined in neon flashing green!

Yesterday that culprit was THE THE.  The clones bounced off the pages and hit be right between the eyes.

Okay, I have to admit, I stopped short for a moment and reread the sentence.  The mistake stalled the pacing, gave me pause and jerked me out of the story, but it’s wasn’t a deal breaker.

I shall overcome and read on.  (Insert your favorite battle song here).   After I recovered and packed my battle weapons back up into their crates, I continued to read for a moment, until I thought of a conversation I’d had awhile back with a friend.

This conversation is actually one I’ve had with a few critique partners as well as non-writer friends, so it must be on a lot of people’s minds…lol.  It’s been awhile now, but this friend actually called me up one day after she tossed the book she’d been reading into the donation box.  She couldn’t finish it.  Now, I don’t recall what the error was exactly, but to me I considered it a bump on the page.  My poor friend was quite upset by it.  She couldn’t understand how a book could go to print and be placed on the bookshelves of stores for purchase and not be ‘perfect’.  After all, the buyer was spending their hard earned money on this form of entertainment and the error should’ve been caught.

Yes, she has a great point.

On the other hand, she blamed the author.  They should’ve seen it.  They didn’t care about their work.

The reason my friend was so upset over this, is because, unlike me, this is a deal breaker for her.  When she runs across something that pulls her out of the story like a duplicate word or a misspelling or missing word, her enjoyment in the story is over.  She closes that book, never to return.

WOW, you might be saying.  But that’s how she feels, and you can’t fault her for being true to herself.  Although, I think she might have missed some really good books along the way…and her and I have discussed this.  But she is adamant that once she is yanked from the story so crudely, everything is ruined and she can’t continue to read because all she can think about is that error.  Sounds funny, at least to me…but I love her and she’s a great person…this is just her own quirk. 🙂

Anyway, I know somewhat of the process a book goes through on the road to publication.  All the eyes that see the words on the pages from the very beginning of story conception.  There is the writer (of course), critique partners, friends and family (not always but sometimes), beta readers—and then when it’s finally polished enough and ‘perfect’ it’s sent to either an agent or publisher (or both).  If it’s contracted it then follows the hallways to many departments that pick the work apart to make it shine and ‘perfect’ before it’s released to the hungry eyes of the readers.  It’s a process for sure, a process of many long months (at least for the writer…lol).

Now, I did try and explain to her some of the process.  Not to blame the writer.  Manuscripts, like I mentioned, are seen by so many eyes, it’s not just one persons fault. But she couldn’t get over the fact that it’s the authors work and they should have last eyes on the pages.

This is the part where we agreed to disagree…lol. 🙂

I’m sorry, I don’t blame it on the writer, or their critique groups or the editor, publisher, beta reader…whoever.  The people proofing a story are all human…things will get missed…things will happen.  It’s a mistake.  Mistakes happen.

An old conversation always pops into my head at moments like this, so let me digress a moment and share it with you.  Years ago, when I was working in the admissions department of a hospital (where we mainly handled paperwork…an extreme amount of paperwork…lol) I made a mistake (shock, gasp, groan) and I was so upset with myself, but my boss shrugged it off.  She helped put it all in prospective for me when she uttered these wise words.

“Nobody is going to die because of that inaccuracy.  Fix it and move on.”

LOL…damn it, she was right.  It wasn’t like I was performing neurosurgery on some poor unsuspecting patient.  I made a typing error.  I tend to think of this phrase often when I’m going about everyday life and trip up.  More than likely the mistake I made or the mistake I come across isn’t going to kill anybody (thank goodness).  So fix the mistake and move on.  (or in the case of reading a book, where you can’t fix the mistake, just move on).

Back to topic.  How about you?  When you come across an error while reading, are you like me and can look past it and continue on, actually forgetting about it as you become immersed once more into the story?  Or, are you like my friend and it’s a done deal, pages closed and book thrown in a box for donation?



Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Day to Day Life, On Writing


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

50 responses to “The Deal Breaker

  1. Cheryl Yeko

    October 19, 2011 at 2:27 am

    I can look past it, unless is a blazing error.

    Something like “He put his arm around her waste.” (true error in a book)

    That one would lose me!


    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 3:26 am

      LOL…that’s a funny one Cheryl! I’m thinking that would lose me while I recovered from laughing…but I’d jump right back in there…just to see if I could find anymore humor 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  2. Karen Lovell

    October 19, 2011 at 2:29 am

    Hey Christine, I’m both. If I come across an error in the book, I will continue reading but I won’t enjoy it as much as I did. A part of my brain will continually scan for errors, whilst I’m trying to enjoy it. It does annoy me, to be honest but I wouldn’t blame the author, more the editor!

  3. J.D.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:29 am

    Yep. Unless it’s a glaring, over and over and over mistake, I can over look it. If it’s a little thing (and something you might want to mention to your friend is this) I have a tendency to blame the typesetter for the snafu.

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 3:29 am

      Her and I agreed to never mention it again! We both know we can’t agree. And like you mentioned, if it was over and over again, especially the same error, then I might toss that book right into the donation pile with hers…but I have yet to run across anything that bad. 🙂

  4. J.D.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:30 am

    (Of course, something like a misspelled “overlook” in a blog post comment, is the author’s mistake. LOL J.D. Who needs a break.)

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 3:30 am

      LOL…and a blog comment doesn’t count. You can misspell because you didn’t have those extra eyes from your critiquers… 🙂

  5. mirriamsmyth

    October 19, 2011 at 2:53 am

    If the mistake is subtle, I can overlook it. If it’s repeated and blatant, I can’t. There’s a part of my brain that always seems to be critiquing even when I’m trying to read for pleasure.

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 3:31 am

      I constantly critique now as I read too! It’s a curse…lol. I even find myself critiquing movies.

  6. Ceri Hebert

    October 19, 2011 at 3:02 am

    Not a deal breaker unless there’s s lot of them and there are other problems. My mom circles them (in pencil) as she goes. LOL

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 3:32 am

      LOL…I love the fact your mom circles them? Is it in red pencil? 🙂

  7. jerridrennen

    October 19, 2011 at 3:08 am

    What’s weird is that before I became a writer, I didn’t notice mistakes made in books–now I do and I think that hinders the enjoyment of reading somewhat. I used to read all the time, now I struggle to finish a book. As far as errors go though, you can go over and over a piece of work and still not catch everything. The way I look at it is, I’m far from perfect. How can I expect anyone else to be.

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 3:36 am

      Exactly Jerri! You said it wonderfully 🙂 And I’m with you, it is hard to read a book now and not critique it, and that does take some of the fun out of it…but then you run across that one that grabs you and squeezes you tight and you forget to be a writer and just become a reader 🙂 Moments of bliss!

  8. Kristina Knight

    October 19, 2011 at 3:30 am

    It all depends on the error – a misspelling or an extra word I can usually overlook. If the error is in something I know – like how a radio station works or what the countryside looks like in South Dakota, etc. – then I may not be able to go on. Again, depends on how *big* an error.

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 3:39 am

      Great point Kristi….that’s another great blog topic…hehehehe! I’ve run across the same things in a few books and now that I write it might be more of a deal breaker than it was before…just because I know that the author didn’t do their homework 🙂
      Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  9. Tabitha

    October 19, 2011 at 3:42 am

    I will glance over a mistake here and there. It happens. But if the whole book is just mistake after mistake then yeah you have lost me. Just my thoughts as a reader.

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 4:04 am

      Good point Tabitha….I think it would lose me at that point too 🙂 thanks for stopping in 🙂

  10. Brenda

    October 19, 2011 at 4:08 am

    I look past it. Small errors like that don’t bother me. What does bother me is when the author intrudes in the story. Also, another deal breaker for me is when a character acts “out of character” or so stupid that I have to shake me head.

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 4:23 am

      I agree….those are deal breakers. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but don’t try and pull one over on the reader either. Nice comment Brenda 🙂

  11. D'Ann Linscott-Dunham

    October 19, 2011 at 4:09 am

    A friend reccomended a well-known author, who writes western contemps. I picked up two, so excited.

    The author head-hops like a bunny in a carrot patch.

    I can’t read it. Ugh.

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 4:24 am

      Don’t you hate that D’Ann…it all goes back to critiquing as you write. Dont’ you think if you had read this book before you started writing it wouldn’t have bothered you as much? Maybe you wouldn’t think it was the best book ever, but you probably would’ve finished it.
      Thanks for coming by 🙂

  12. Starfox Howl

    October 19, 2011 at 4:11 am

    Mistakes in books are like bloopers in movies. Sorry, it’s something to giggle over, laugh at, but move on. I wonder if your friend would walk out of the movie Excalibur, if she had realized that several of the knights fighting alongside the king to be Aurthur were wearing WRISTWATCHES during the first fight at the castle. Or, in a more popular movie, the restraining bolt on C3-PO flip-flopped from one side to the other during one scene in the original Star Wars(it was fixed when they re-issued the move several years later).

    Technical glitches like these happen. Nothing to twist your gut up about. As the original poster said, no one is going to die because of the mistake.

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 4:27 am

      Nicely said Starfox! I have to admit I love bloopers and I think it’s funny when a blockbuster movie makes an error like the one you mentioned with the wristwatches…proves we are all human 🙂
      Happy to see your post 🙂

  13. bridgetstraub

    October 19, 2011 at 4:17 am

    You realize you wrote “it’s wasn’t” up there, right? That’s funny. As for me I hate mistakes in books too and if there are too many of them I’ll quit reading, but if there are just a few I’ll just be annoyed with the editor.

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 4:31 am

      LOL…you must be a great critique partner. See how it goes, you critique your own work and you skip right over that stuff…which is why I love my cp’s and also why I’m not a neurosurgeon…lol. Thanks for dropping in to comment 🙂

  14. Nikki

    October 19, 2011 at 4:30 am

    Most editing errors, yeah I do a double take and move on. If the books is littered with many errors, that’s a different story. I have to laugh at my husband because when we are next to each other reading, he kind of yells out of the blue about an error, and he proceeds to tell me about it (I think I have myself an editor, lol!)

    I read a book recently, in ebook format from one of the NY publishers, and I was very caught off guard about a miss type that happened quite a few times before the word was fixed. It was a name of a place in the town, SUPPOSED to be called the Funky Chicken…..and for about four or five times it read…..well, replace the n with another letter and think about it. I could not believe it!!

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 4:32 am

      LMBO…love your comment Nikki…

      And congrats on having an editor in the family 🙂

    • Sharon Cullen

      October 19, 2011 at 4:36 am

      LOL! How horrible for the author but how funny.

  15. Sharon Cullen

    October 19, 2011 at 4:35 am

    Misspellings aren’t necessarily a deal breaker for me unless the book is filled with them. What is a deal breaker is lack of research. I can’t stand it when a character thumbs the safety off a Glock. Glock’s don’t have safeties. Or in one book I read the heroine was handcuffed with her own handcuffs and didn’t have an extra set of keys. The author didn’t realize that handcuff keys are universal. Stuff like that annoys me because its lack of research and that IS on the author’s head.

    I know enough about publishing to know that spelling errors could easily be caused by auto correct (damn you, auto correct!) in the very final stages of formatting. So I don’t necessarily blame anyone for that.

    Great topic!

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 5:13 am

      Thanks for stopping by Sharon….I learned something new about Glocks too 🙂

    • Starfox Howl

      October 19, 2011 at 5:34 am

      Sharon: Thumbing a safety on a Glock?? That just shows a lack of basic research. That would be a deal breaker for me as it shows complete contempt for not only the subject matter but the reader as well. (Plus add in the fact that I carry a Glock for personal protection when I’m Stateside.)

  16. Sheri Fredricks

    October 19, 2011 at 4:42 am

    Hi Christine ~ Back in the stone-age, before I became a writer, I was an engineering secretary. I’m also a Virgo. This combo turns me into an error finding maniac and it’s a rare occassion to not find me with a red pen in hand. (yes, I’ve sent junk mail back all marked up before)

    Finding occassional typos and repeat words in a book doesn’t break the deal for me. Boring writing will do that more often than not. I also know it’s not the author’s fault that editing errors occur. Sometimes stuff happens when it goes to print – why, I don’t know.

    I can count on both hands the number of books I didn’t finish during my life, not taking into consideration textbooks. You pretty much have to push me off a cliff to not get me to an ending.

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 5:15 am

      I’m with you Sheri….I think I can count the number of books on one hand that I didn’t finish either…and mostly it was because, like you said, the story was boring. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by.

  17. Calisa Rhose

    October 19, 2011 at 4:59 am

    As an editor and a writer (although I am first and foremost an author) I have to chime in. Great subject btw, Christine.

    The plain fact is-we are not perfect. What we are is simple humans. We see what we see and try to catch it all. Humans make mistakes. True, we are paid to catch these things, but I would love to meet the person who has NEVER made a blatant or even not so obvious mistake in the day job they are ‘paid’ to do.

    I can assure you now- NO writer or editor sets out to deliberately sabotage our careers by ignoring errors just for the hell of riling a reader. That would be career suicide. Stupid.
    Our readers make authors who we are, and just like an author makes a publisher who it is, an editor makes the reader who they are by providing the best they can in reading pleasure. If it’s not perfect… that doesn’t necessarily mean less/no care was taken in the creation… It means it was created by humans– for humans. Un-perfect beings.

  18. Neecy

    October 19, 2011 at 5:58 am

    I read Susan Anderson a lot. Love her. But read this.
    An entry for Damn You, Auto-correct: From Susan Andersen: I apologize to anyone who bought my on-sale ebook of Baby, I’m Yours and read on pg 293: He stiffened for a moment but then she felt his muscles loosen as he shitted on the ground.

    Shifted–he SHIFTED! I just cringe when I think of the readers who have read this. Hopefully, it’s only in the iBook version that I bought, but if it’s in yours as well, please let me know. I’ve contacted the editor and pray this will be promptly fixed.

    We are all human, and humans make mistakes… it happens to the best of people.

    • Starfox Howl

      October 19, 2011 at 6:07 am

      “Damn You, Auto-correct!” That could be a whole blog post in and of itself. A right funny one too.

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 6:28 am

      LOL..I agree with John…the auto-correct blog would be a good one! Thanks for the laugh Denice 🙂

  19. davidandersonauthor

    October 19, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Well, I don’t have a deal-breaker as such. But, if there are typos or spelling or grammar errors, I just start reading more quickly and skipping stuff. The more errors there are, the faster I read. I figure the author doesn’t deserve my time if a better product can’t be provided. That might be unfair of me, I know!

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      Glad you stopped in David! It’s funny how differently we all handle typos and other errors!

  20. Joanna Aislinn

    October 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Nice post, Christine. I’m amazed at the errors I’ll catch in my own work, sometimes after the 15th or 20th time (maybe more) of going over it. I have one book by a NYTBSA that has one glaring error–makes me do a double take whenever I read the passage. As you said, it happens. Inside knowledge helps, but in the end, it is what it is. An error.

    Even editors and authors are fallible. Geez. Why didn’t I know that before, lol?

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      Well stated Joanna…unfortunately even with many many extra eyes, and your own going over the words a zillion times (or at least that how it seems…lol) things get missed. Hopefully, in the end, most readers can move past it to still enjoy a good read 🙂

  21. Zee Monodee

    October 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I’m not put off by one error here or there. But my deal breaker is every sentence/every other sentnece starting with “I” in 1st person! I won’t name names, but I once started a book by a really big name and couldn’t go beyond page 3 because every sentence started with I and it felt like reading a third-grade school essay

    • ChristineWarner

      October 20, 2011 at 1:03 am

      Hi Zee…that is annoying when all the sentences start with the same word, it’s actually something I will notice easily as well and be drawn out of the story.
      We have to remember as authors to shake it up a bit and vary our sentences 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      • Zee Monodee

        October 20, 2011 at 1:21 am

        That voice was totally dry and really unpalatable! That’s another deal breaker for me! 🙂

  22. Matthew MacNish

    October 20, 2011 at 1:01 am

    There are minor mistakes and typos in almost every published book. They don’t bother me unless they start to become a pattern.

    • ChristineWarner

      October 20, 2011 at 1:06 am

      Couldn’t agree more Matthew! Thank you for taking the time to comment 🙂

  23. MaryAnn, Twitter: JAustenwannabe

    October 20, 2011 at 3:37 am

    If I see a mistake, it bugs me. I don’t blame anyone in particular (unless it’s a self published book). I can move past the mistake, but if they are numerous, then I stop. I get too irritated. I’ve dealt with paperwork my entire adult life, so every typo jumps out at me. I see them everywhere. It’s a curse. 🙂

    But one or two won’t ruin the book for me.

    • ChristineWarner

      October 20, 2011 at 3:48 am

      Hey MaryAnn, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment, it’s fun to read everyone’s thoughts on the subject 🙂


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