Posts Tagged ‘mistakes’

A short one today. Go here to the 11-points list for a hilarious catch of some grammatically incorrect movie titles. Makes me wonder if you’d find that on book titles.

Do you have any to add to the list?

Happy Easter, everyone

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Yesterday I encouraged you to read my guest post at Fear of Writing. In that post I admit my short story publications are, in a way, a distraction from finishing the darn novel. I vowed to stop letting publication get in the way of publication. And I will. Right after this one at Orion Headless. (It went up yesterday but felt sheepish to admit it on the same day that people might actually take me serious. pfft)

In my defense, I still have some stories on submission. So there.

This story was originally accepted by a paying anthology. But when I read the contract it looked like it would be published in the later part of 2012. After getting advice from a publishing expert, I had to withdraw my piece because it is part of my book and publishers (if one was looking at offering me a contract) would see it as a conflict in many, many ways. The last thing I want to do is give a publisher a reason to reject me.

So the moral of the story is:  If it’s an excerpt, pay attention to the fine print. You don’t want to lose your rights to it or, in this case, tie up the rights. But I’m glad it found it’s way to Orion. Happy Ending.

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Wondering how to waste three precious hours of your life? You came to the right place.

My daughter is attending sixth grade at a new (for us) school this year. A 5th thru 8th grade middle school with new and longer hours to adjust to. Wednesdays are supposed to be minimum days, when she gets out at 1:30 instead of 3:30.

Due to our being out of state last week, I had to reschedule her orthodontic appointment to this week. I made it Wednesday so I wouldn’t have to take her out of school.

This is a magnet school and very few kids live close. Most take the bus or get picked up. I’m having to adjust to extra traffic at drop off and pick up times. So to find a place to park within a mile, I must arrive at least twenty minutes before school lets out.

I arrive at 1:10 to no traffic. Hot dog! I find shade—imperative in triple digit weather. And I wait. It occurs to me that no one else is arriving. O-kay. So I hoof it to the office wherein I find out only some Wednesdays are minimum days. Didn’t you get the new parent pack? No? Well, here you go.

To make our 2:30 ortho appointment, I must take her out of school an hour and fifteen minutes early. ON THE THIRD DAY OF SCHOOL. It also means I must now kill an hour. O-kay. But first I must sit in the car and ponder this curious foul up. I cannot move on until I’ve placed blame. How is it that I thought every Wednesday is minimum day? Who told me? Five minutes of deep thought pass and nothing. Was it my older daughter’s school? Did they have a Wednesday min. day? Hmmm. Not far enough in the past for me to remember, besides, I worked back then. She went to an afterschool program. I picked her up at 6pm no matter what time she got out. I go back further, way back, to when I was in elementary school and lo and behold, I remember getting out at 1:30 every Wednesday. Mystery solved. Blame is mine, right? Wrong. It’s the school’s fault for planting the seed (clears throat).

I kill time at a nearby Walgreens to buy Kleenex for the dry heat-related nosebleed I just got—did I mention I was wearing a white shirt?—and where I find Bark Off, a device to use on my neighbor’s yapping dog (the kind of dog that yaps so consistently, so long, so loud, that humane solutions such as Bark Off don’t seem to do justice to the death and dismemberment fantasy I maintain—did I mention I was PMSing?). Then I buy a coke for my troubles.

From there I go to the gas station. I swipe my card and it says I’ve encountered technical difficulties (how did it know?). I try again. And again. Did I mention this is one of the hottest days this summer? 107! So I *kick the pump and leave. (*PMS and caffeine don’t mix)

I pick up child who complains I pulled her out of class as her math teacher was explaining how to do the homework, which confirms why I never schedule appointments that take her out of school, and, of course, I blame the school.

We go to ortho wherein we discover our appointment is not this Wednesday, but next. Of course. (Who? Who? Whose fault? [everybody knows it’s always someone else’s fault] Can’t think. Head spinning. Eye twitching.) Is the next Wednesday still good? they ask. Si, I reply. (Now I’m speaking in tongues. Or is it Spanish?)

But it isn’t still good. I think the proper Spanish reply would have been ‘no”. After we leave, I realize I would have to take her out of school again because that next Wednesday doesn’t fall on one of the some Wednesdays that are minimum.

We salvage the trip by going to Target to buy two more uniform shirts. I had planned to buy the last two we needed at school so she could have two with the school logo. Not. They had no more small, just xl or xxl or xxxl. So I find the only shade parking at Target and appease myself that my luck must be changing. The parking happens to be closest to the garden dept. So we arrive in front of the garden dept to a closed gate. Locked.

Did I mention it is 107 degrees?

Maybe they figured no one would be dumb enough to do gardening on this hot day, or maybe the employee is suffering a heat stroke. All I want is a short cut to the AC, but no. Now we must walk a mile in the hot desert sun to the main entrance. It is so hot I can see it—fire, brimstone. I see mirages too—a closer entrance. But what I don’t see once inside are uniforms—sold out. (eye twitching faster.) On the hike back to the car, I notice they re-opened the garden dept.

We then leave skid marks drive out of the way to Wal*Mart. Have I ever told you of my aversion to Wal*Mart? No? Another day. Anyhoo, the only shade spot I find covers two parking spaces and a truck is parked in the middle of both. I crowd my car next to his (I say “his” because of the derogatory-to-females bumper stickers he so proudly displays) and park much closer than would otherwise had he taken up only one space—his arrogance backfired, hahahaha. Will there be a confrontation later? Maybe, but in my state it will more likely be a fight to the death—not mine.

 We trudge a mile in the hot desert sun that is so hot I see it, and mirages too, because no one else in Fresno holds the repugnance to Wal*Mart that I do, and they are all here buying the last of the uniforms. There is none left. NONE, I tell you.

Laundry, I say to her. I will do laundry mid week. Shirts-a-plenty. Right? Normally this is where I’d say wrong, but my face is red, my eyes bulge, the temples in my forehead throb, so she says O-kay—did I tell you she’s smart?

Finally we get home and my bad day is done. I want to go to bed so I can get an early start on tomorrow.

Update: I stubbed broke my toe on the sprinkler head. Who put it there?

Authors note: Blame (for everything) is laid on a Hawaiian adventure vacation taken the week prior. A blog post is forthcoming on said adventure vacation when I’m not PMSing (I’m afraid I’m too much my real self during this time, and to protect myself from further embarrassment exposure, I must refrain).

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I have the Telegraph to thank for today’s post. I had an idea for a topic I wanted to address, but this came along, …”Dan Brown’s 20 Worst Sentences,” and I just had to share. http://tinyurl.com/r6tye2 . It seems the two most bashed authors these days are Dan Brown and Stephanie Meyer. They are loved or hated as discussed in my last post. Loved by the general reading public and hated by critics in the publishing industry. The more masses to love them, the more the industry will bash them.

I can see both sides of the issue. As a general reader, I read Angels and Demons, and The Da Vinci Code long before the hysteria. No one was complaining as much back then. I read them with the focus on entertainment and never noticed the flaws that are magnified by today’s critics. I aborted my efforts on Twilight only because I saw the movie before I finished the book and that always spoils it for me. You can bet I’ll read it again with a critical eye for what the fuss is about.

I don’t discount the critics, either. As a writer hoping to be published, I know how hard it is—all of it: writing, re-writing, the query, finding an agent—so it won’t go unnoticed when someone puts forth less effort with an undeserved bestselling result. However, when I read the Telegraph’s article on Dan Brown’s 20 worst sentences, I realized that those are simple mistakes that a critique group and an editor could’ve easily solved. I pictured making some of those mistakes and I’m pretty confident my critique group would have called me on them. That’s all he needed. It’s all Ms. Meyer needed, too. They are great storytellers in need of beta readers and editors. And in some cases just left alone. Take for example number 20, of the 20 worst sentences. I’m currently reading a novel right now by a famous and respected author who does many such “offenses” as the one below.

20. Angels and Demons, chapter 1: Although not overly handsome in a classical sense, the forty-year-old Langdon had what his female colleagues referred to as an ‘erudite’ appeal — wisp of gray in his thick brown hair, probing blue eyes, an arrestingly deep voice, and the strong, carefree smile of a collegiate athlete.

They say the first rule of fiction is “show, don’t tell”. This fails that rule.

And then there’s this one.

15. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: As a boy, Langdon had fallen down an abandoned well shaft and almost died treading water in the narrow space for hours before being rescued. Since then, he’d suffered a haunting phobia of enclosed spaces – elevators, subways, squash courts.

Other enclosed spaces include toilet cubicles, phone boxes and dog kennels.

 What did they want him to do, name every single enclosed place there is?

I see some of the other points critics noted and I cringe at most of them, especially number one. But by the looks of it, he’s clearly, and unfairly, picked on. These aren’t mistakes made on one book, but four. Approximately 2000 pages and those are the worst they came up with? He should be commended, not condemned. Surely if we look hard enough we can find mistakes in all the novels we read. If not mistakes, then poor word choices or a misplaced thought

I didn’t read all 691 comments on the article. In fact, I only read the first five. My favorite was the comment that pointed out all the grammar errors in the article itself—errors, I believe, that are worse than those that were criticized. Way to go stephen-comment from Oct. 26,  10:04am. Check it out.

I appreciate flawless writing as much as the next guy/gal, but tell me, would you rather read a gripping story with some clumsy sentences, or a masterpiece of prose that’s a cure for insomnia? (That masterpiece, btw, may have a poor word choice or two, but nobody talks about those.)



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I am kick, kick, kicking myself. Ouch. I made a HUGE blunder on the three sentence pitch contest that I entered on Monday on QueryTracker. As always, I realized it at the worst possible time; like in the middle of the night.  I’ll post it here. Tell me what is wrong with this picture. I’ll tell you below, but if you find something besides the one I saw, tell me so I can agonize about that too.


Hiding in the Spotlight is a fish-out-of-water humor adult fiction novel about the misadventures of Oklahoma transplants to California during the 1960s and 70s.


Whether it’s the seediest areas of L.A. or exclusive hamlets for the rich and famous, it’s a comedy of horrors for youngest family member, Patty Austen, who, on top of being hearing impaired, must deal with her family’s humiliating backwoods antics.


The frequent moves compound even bigger challenges for Patty and her desire for belonging, but also bring her relief to leave behind the aftermath of yet another failed assimilation attempt by her family.



If you want to irritate an agent, this is how: use the words fiction and novel next to each other. They mean the same so why say both? Originally it said coming-of-age novel. Then at the last minute I replaced coming-of-age with adult fiction to be in compliance with her requirements. It is both, but since she didn’t have the coming-of-age on her list I changed it.

Please tell me if you see something else, since I had no critiques of it prior to sending.

You know what this means folks? I’ll be posting another rant about losing another contest. Just kidding. I won’t  rant. This time I’ll accept my defeat with my head down.

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