Making Mistakes

There’s a mistake in the first line of Chastity Flame. The first line ought to read, “Chastity Flame stood in front of Les grandes baigneuses waiting for her contact to arrive.” She doesn’t have a phone, a fact that becomes a plot development point later. Why is the first line wrong? I started writing the novel with little more than the picture in my head of it beginning with this striking woman meeting the man of her dreams (unbeknownst to her) in front of that painting at the National Gallery in London (for very silly reasons that nonetheless make me happy). I wrote the rest in a few weeks during the end of the fall semester and sent it off to the publisher, who put it in print that spring without ever actually giving me proofs.

I was not terribly happy about that, but I was also in the midst of conference hopping and the dissolution of my marriage, so it’s safe to say I was a bit distracted. The publisher was jut getting off the ground and had an incredibly hectic publication schedule. It happens. The speed of epublishing makes me very happy on the whole. I have a novel coming out in print next year (under my given name) that I finished a couple of years ago. I barely remember it. Epublishing still requires editing, proofreading and packaging, but it can be quick and usually gets measured in weeks or months, not years. In the streamlined process, it can be just a matter of days, as it was for Four Play.

But that error in the first sentence irks. It’s not as if it were the only typo in one of my books; trust me I have loads of them because I don’t have the careful attention to details that good copy editing requires, which is why I am extremely grateful for my good editors. I am careless, forgetful and seem to have lost the ability to spell with each new language I study. (>_<) Even if I were more careful, mistakes occur. We are all far from perfect.

I’ve been working on the sequel. It’s been slow going for a number of reasons. When I’m working on it, it generally goes quickly, but it keeps getting shifted aside for other things. I do have at least a few people clamouring for it, but as usual I am trying to do too many things and whatever seems most pressing gets done. In theory any way; I’ve spent the last few days trying to force myself to work on something that’s overdue. It’s an academic essay and honestly I have not had my academic hat on lately. My mind has been flying around the wonder that is Ireland and catapulting into unexpected regions (like noir and crime lately, oh and then there’s that whole falling in love again).

In short, all this freedom has gone to my head.

Restrictions are a writer’s friend: word counts, themes, audience, deadlines. They give the mind focus and limits. Usually a topic and a deadline is enough for me, but I seem to have lost an essential bit of discipline with this particular project. I’m inclined to think it’s just laziness, but the usual whiplash exhortations have not resulted in attacking the project so I’m not sure why my brain has so stubbornly refused to work. I sit here staring at the screen as the minutes tick by and —

nothing.

I’m writing this too early on a Sunday morning despite being up late watching bad horror films with my sweetie (:-*) even though it won’t post until Monday. Why? I might think better of it. Why write it then? I’m trying to figure out what’s going on in my head and writing is the only way I know to do that. Sometimes it’s just priming the pump. Writing anything — the action of writing, I mean, tappity tappity on the keyboard — can sometimes get the stubborn brain unblocked. It’s the reason I usually work on several projects at once. When one gets stuck, I just move to the other. While I’ve supposedly been working on this project I have started and finished several other things. I keep prodding this one but it’s like poking roadkill with a stick.

It’s only academic stuff really. I’ve whipped out a bunch of things since I moved to Galway. I haven’t had trouble with the Chas sequel: I just haven’t had much time to devote to it. I’ve had oodles of time for this essay. I had another academic project earlier this semester that I desperately tried to get out of but ended up finishing at the last minute. I tried to get out of this one, too, but the editor wheedled me into giving it a go. Maybe it’s time to admit defeat. I am sticking to my declaration to take on no new academic projects, but I have one left (>_<) that’s due soon, too. We’ll see what happens.

UPDATE: Now that Chas is out from Tirgearr Publishing, the novel has been corrected. Next up — the sequel! Look for it January 2013.

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