How (Not) to Talk to a Writer #5

Did you know that on page 37 of Book 1 of Series X that you got _______________ wrong?

This is one of those conversations that every author dreads. I could actually pull this with a few writers I know, because there was something glaringly wrong somewhere. But I don’t bother.

There’s always something wrong. Always. We just can’t create perfect work. It’s impossible. And once something is published (save for e-books) it’s very difficult to change anything.

Some people are honestly trying to be helpful. And if it’s something that the writer -can- fix, it does help.

Some people just enjoy commenting on that sort of thing. They love catching other people out. It’s their hobby…

But having just gone through page proofs, making the very last changes I can…I know how hard it can be to get everything right. In fact, you sometimes even choose to get things wrong. Intentionally, I mean.

Here’s my example:
I had a sentence where someone said “…kill two birds with one stone.”

I quibbled and quibbled and quibbled over ‘correcting’ this one, because the Portuguese saying is “Matar dois coelhos de uma cajadada.” That’s “Kill two RABBITS with one stone.”

The more and more I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that English readers would be thrown out of the story if I used ‘rabbits’ in that sentence. So I used ‘birds’.

And someone -will- eventually come up to me and say, “Did you know that on page X of The Golden City you got the saying wrong? It’s really…”

So please try to be patient with us writers. We’re not perfect…

#SFWApro

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