|In Writer's Digest November/December 2009 Issue, Craig Silverman has an article titled, Regret the Error? In it the author tells of his errors found by others in his already published book, which was on the topic of errors.
He believes, however, while a writer should try not to make an error, errors are not so bad after all because they teach us how to write better.
Then he quotes James Reason: "It is often the best people who make the worst mistakes. Error is not the monopoly of an unfortunate few."
As the remedy, he suggests that each writer make a list of his/her most common errors and "create a system for correcting them."
Well, this article created a dilemma for me since I always come up with fresh errors. Yes, fresh errors. Don't you think errors are usually fresh? Don't they sass at you, annoy you, and pull you down? Mine do, and then some.
A list of my quite common errors:
I type the same word twice.
I say the same idea twice, be it in different forms.
I suffer from typos due to the lack of typing exercises when I first learned to type, but I am not going back to practice the darn thing again. Besides, those wriggling red lines in my word processing program and the internet browser alert me to my transgressions. I mean the typing transgressions. I am too old for the "Transgressions of the heart."
Sentence organization: Although, I usually fix this by the second revision, a few booboos may jump off my field of vision.
I am a fiction abandoner. I have tons of half-finished stories and three novels. There is no way I can fix this item on the list. I'll need another life, a century long, just to do it, which is a true impossibility.
I am sometimes too merciful with my characters. A good writer knows when to be really cruel to his characters.
I am a lousy revisionist. Even after I revise up and down and right and left, smart people still find holes. Then, when I look at the work closely, I see those holes to be as large as the black holes in outer space.
A list of error possibilities (I have done these in the past but hope not to repeat them. )
Forgetting and misplacing names, dates, and ages: For example, forgetting the name of a character and calling him by another name or making him an eleven year-old, then to say he's twenty.
Misplacing a setting: Starting to write a scene at a beach, then forgetting the idea and dragging it to a desert or mountaintop. In other words, the setting shapeshifts.
Misplacing the time of day, year or era: Such as, after putting a scene in a certain time of the day, by the end of the scene or exposition, changing the time of the day. For example if two people are talking at breakfast, when they leave the table, they may say goodnight and go to bed. This would be okay, however, if they were working a weird shift.
Using the same word in two or three consecutive sentences without meaning to use the emphasis tool.
Tense mistakes or shifts within the same paragraph, scene or story.
These lists could be miles long, if I had the patience to continue with my chatter. Still, the WD article made me feel better about all this, maybe because misery loves company. .