My author friend Eri Nelson once told me that she must strive for perfection in her writing. My reply to her was simple. “Strive for perfection and I guarantee you will turn into a blubbering idiot before you become a senior!” At one time, I too thought perfection should be the goal of any novel writer worth their salt. As it turned out, both of us were dead wrong.
I will always remember when I received my author copies of my first murder mystery novel, Evil in the Mirror. I was excited beyond belief and couldn’t wait to give copies to my family and close friends. After receiving glowing reviews and feeling on top of the world, I received a great review from a friend that also included the revelation that I had an obvious mistake in the book. One of my murdered detectives showed up again in a later chapter. I had inadvertently given the lead detective the wrong name. I called my publisher yelling, “Oh, my God, hold the presses, stop everything; there is a mistake!” I was mortified to say the least, and my Wheatmark representative Kat Gautreaux was mildly amused at the obvious tailspin I was in.
Kat softly said, “Mittster, nothing is perfect in the universe and we live in an imperfect world. Our goal as human beings should be excellence, not perfection. Not to worry, later down the road when we insert reviews, we will take care of the oversight.” With that being said, I reluctantly hung up the phone and headed for my wife in the next room for aid and comfort. My writer’s ego had taken a direct cannonball hit and was shattered beyond repair.
As I worked hard to complete my second novel, Day Stalker, my wife would interrupt me every time she found a mistake in a book she was reading. Being an avid reader of murder mysteries by bestselling authors, my wife interrupted me often and I was amazed at all the mistakes being made by known authors. After a few months of interruptions, I finally got it – we all make mistakes, including people who proof books for a living! I was able to finish my second novel without fear of failure; after all, it’s the storyline that really counts. Write an excellent book and people will read it regardless of typos and clerical errors. Write a stinker and no one will see any errors because they will have already slated the book for a yard sale without reading it.
The moral of this story is that we write because we are compelled to do so. We make mistakes because we are human.
I’m just saying,