Friday, July 15, 2005

I am not cut out for editing fiction.

Keeping track of each character's name, history, hair color, type of car, education level, housing, and job; mapping out timelines and plot arcs to check them for internal and external consistency; fact-checking and fact-checking and fact-checking some more -- none of this especially appeals to me. I'll stick to juicy articles on Regulation of Sodium/Potassium Adenosine Triphosphatase Activity: Impact on Salt Balance and Vascular Contractility, thanks anyway.

Even as a reader of fiction, I'm not very attuned to detecting errors. Typos and grammatical mistakes, yes, but not errors of fact. I think I tend to be so interested in plot, characterization, themes, and other big-ticket stuff that I often just skate right over some inconsistencies.


I'm indulging in a fluffy summer read -- Jennifer Weiner's Little Earthquakes -- and came across a mistake that the author, and definitely the copyeditor, should have caught. One of the characters grew up on the Jersey Shore, and she mentions going to a bar in Ocean City. Umm, I don't think so -- Ocean City is DRY.

Have you ever noticed any howling mistakes in books you've read?

Edited to add: Comments are currently wonky. Haloscan assures us that they are working on the problem...