Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Devil is in the Details

I can’t speak for every author, but there are many I have had the pleasure to know and on this subject, I’m sure they’d agree.  One thing that can drive me crazy is when you think the manuscript is all done, that everything is perfect, or as close to it as you can possibly make it and then then publisher reaches out and says ‘just take one more look’.

After countless revisions and more editing than I’ll ever admit to, this part can be painful. My first reaction is to yell ‘I know the story inside out and upside down. There can’t possibly be any more corrections needed. Just roll with it.’  But then I pause, lean back and start to read it over once again.


Because mistakes happen. I read it numerous times before allowing some wonderful beta readers to check it out. The editor I’m working with has read it more than once. Yet still, little errors jump out at me. My intention is to provide you with an entertaining story, hopefully one that doesn’t include any glaring contradictions or screw-ups in it. But I’m not perfect. 

Here’s an example from “Your Turn to Die”, the manuscript in question. During a conversation, someone turns to Chene and makes reference to his heritage and says “You may be black, but you’re not a thoroughbred. More like a Black Russian. You know, Kahlua and cream.”

I liked that line and thought it fit well in the setting and the person’s attitude.   

The problem? 

There is no cream in a Black Russian. That’s just vodka and Kahlua. It’s the White Russian that adds the cream. Which is bad enough, but Chene’s character also spent many years tending bar.  He would have caught that quickly.

Despite the efforts of several people and multiple readings of my own, this goof almost made it to the final print.   

So it’s true what they say, the devil is in the details.

Here’s a little excerpt from “Stealing Haven”.  In this scene Jamie and Linda are out for a ride on Lake Michigan with Randy, whom them met on their first day of vacation.  Sparks are starting to fly between Jamie and Randy.

With the sun beginning to set, Randy steered us into a wide U-turn and headed back toward the marina. Reluctantly, I pushed off the bench and moved back to Linda. Dropping on the seat beside her, I could almost see my reflection in her dazzling smile.

“Thought you said the dog was going to be my chaperone.”

She gave me a rolling laugh. “Poor baby had to cover his eyes. He’s not used to seeing his aunt get frisky.”

“Was I really making out with him, or did I just imagine that?”

“Jamie, you certainly seemed to be enjoying the attention. Why do you find it so hard to believe that a nice looking man would be attracted to you?”

I shrugged. “I’m not blessed with your face and figure, so it’s not like guys are fighting over me.”

“You are a beautiful woman. Randy certainly seems to think so. Should I take Logan home and leave you two alone?”

We were entering the canal for the marina now. The boat was moving slowly. It made me think of cars exiting the freeway and blending in with traffic on residential streets.

“I’m not ready for anything else tonight.”

She smiled and hugged me. “Smart and beautiful. No wonder I love you.”

I helped Randy with the lines when we got back to the dock. He walked us through the marina to the main road.

“Thank you for the wine and the ride on the lake,” Linda said sweetly. She leaned over and brushed her cheek against his.

Here's this week's musical favorite, from Steve Winwood.

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