Tuesday, January 02, 2007

It's About More Than the Comma Splice

Anyone who has been reading my blog for more than thirty seconds knows that I hate to go back and edit my own work. I've read it and read it and read it until it's practically memorized, and the thought of reading it one more time makes me want to set fire to my computer. But I persist in doing it, and tonight I was reminded, yet again, of why.

I'm editing my WIP this week. I had other plans for this stretch of time - if you read my New Year's Resolutions blog, you know I had planned to do research right now, but I'm waiting for two books I ordered from Amazon and badly need to arrive. Until they get here, I've done all I can do, so I'm editing up until the point where I need that researched information. This is my thousandth pass on this book (it feels like) and yet tonight, I found something major.

There are three teenaged characters: Sunny, Neil, and Benjiro. I had originally made Benjiro a little bit older than Sunny and Neil, but I decided to start the book with the assassination of JFK and tie Vietnam in more closely, and so I made them all roughly the same age. I made that call about two editing passes ago, but just tonight found a spot where Benjiro is telling Sunny he was orphaned at three when his parents were killed by the atomic bomb. Well, Sunny was six months old when the bomb fell, and that would make Benjiro around a year old or less. I never caught that until tonight. It's a good thing I'm putting myself through this torture.

It just goes to show that when you make a change later in the process, you need to go back and make sure that everything leading up to that point supports the change you made. That's as much a part of editing as punctuation or anything else you do.


Keith Fisher said...

My problem is that I forget to take character notes and when I get to a later place in the book I give the character green eyes and forget that I gave him blue. I need to start keeping my charcter notes file up to date.
You have given me encouragement however, if someone that pays as much attention to detail as you do can make a mistake, then I have hope.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I make mistakes by the buckets, I kid you not!

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