Monday, November 21, 2011

Wee Writing Whoops

Last week, I started a new feature here on It's a Mystery, Wee Writing Wisdoms. Of course, if you're going to have Wisdoms, then you have to be honest and have Whoops.

Therefore, welcome to Wee Writing Whoops - wherein we can confess a writing mistake. Here's one of mine (and I've got a million at least)

I once wrote the same scene three times. No, not three times trying to perfect the gosh-darned thing, the same scene in three different places in the manuscript. Discovering this scene the second time was bad; the third time was...shall I say....colourful.

Now, 'fess up! Share one of your writing whoops.

Please don't leave me standing here all alone.


  1. In My first 'real' full length story, I had some new plot ideas (a lot of them). As a fast drafter, I don't edit anything first go round, I rely on the separate notes I make. On paper. Which I lost for this one. I read it once and honestly, it's as though somebody cut up seven books and randomly stuck pages together.

  2. I had two Tuesdays in the same manuscript. With different things happening on each one. The ending had to occur on a specific day, and the start day was somewhat specific, but thankfully loose enough I could work the important things in. But it took a while.

  3. Sarah; I don't edit much first go round either; I'm far more concerned with getting the gosh-darned words onto the page. Reading that draft must have been an experience!

    Carol; That must have taken a great deal of work to straighten out. It IS tricky when the plot demands a definite start and end date. I admire you for finding a way through your two Tuesdays.

  4. I'm glad I'm not the only one! I've written a scene twice, too. And had some characters change names in the course of the story. :) Thank goodness for editors!

  5. When I was first starting out writing I was reading a lot too. After about 4 drafts of my first chapter I noticed a disturbing trend - I was coping the voice of the author I was reading when I wrote the draft. There was one draft that was really Tolkien-esk (although I did not pull it off that well).

    I remember reading through the drafts and thinking - this is not me. I had to stop reading all together until I found my voice and settle into it.

  6. I've experienced every mistake the above posters have mentioned- honestly. Changing names of characters half way through, mixing up days, repeating scenes- that is me through and through. I am the Queen of Whoops. But the best is a short story I wrote about terrorism where a school was taken over by some terrorists. I sent the story out to a lit mag with my terrorist wearing baklava on their heads. Yep. I did it. :(

  7. Elspeth - I've "whoopsed" so often! One that I did was to give the same character three different names. Really. And what's worst is that I didn't even catch the mistake :-(. One of my beta readers did. For shame!

  8. Elizabeth - Thank goodness, indeed! I'm relieved even someone has organized as you can have a wee whoops!

    Krista; Good for you that you were able to recognize that you weren't writing in your own voice. That's impressive.

    Lauri; Thank you SO MUCH for sharing that. I don't suppose the lit mag thought you were being brilliantly symbolic in an ironic way?

    Margot; Ah, but at least it was caught! What would we do without those beta readers! I do understand how you must have felt, though. It's humbling.

  9. I don't think so, Elspeth, I got a rejection.

  10. As I am a planner, that would hardly happen to me. If we forget about my first, ridiculous work that only my mother loved, I suppose it was setting out to create a protagonist who was a bit like me, just more stupid, careful and inactive. It took YEARS to knock the dust out of her :D

  11. Would you believe 3 characters named Henry/Hank? And the editor didn't catch it. I found them when I got rights back and was re-editing What's In A Name? First version was before I used my character name spreadsheet, a mistake now rectified for any book I'm writing.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  12. Dorte; Thanks for sharing - and yes, planning does help to avoid *most* of the whoops.

    Terry; Oh NO!! Retroactive embarrassment is the worst. I do a similar spreadsheet - which I learned to do after I realized I have a habit of naming several characters with names starting with the same letter.


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