Perfection may be the goal, but it’s rarely something we attain in life, whether it’s through our actions or through our writing. Unfortunately, writing is where our lack of perfection tends to stand out. Spelling mistrakes, misplaced, commas, and not making sense words here, are what readers notice. Yes, we proofread and use editors, but things just get overlooked sometimes. But how do we deal with them?
Prior to publication, dealing with writing mistakes is easy. Just go back in and fix what you screwed up. Even after publication, that can sometimes be accomplished without too many people noticing. Unfortunately, the errors are sometimes orders of magnitude larger, and that’s where things get tricky.
In my first novel, I used a restaurant called Philippe’sThe Original as a plot device. I went through the process of contacting them and getting their permission to use their name and restaurant. I promised them a free copy, and they sounded very excited. This place is in LA, so maybe, I figured, this could be a way to go viral! However, things did not work out as I planned, and by that I mean that I misspelled their name in my book(Phillipe’s instead of Philippe’s).
I didn’t catch this error until after I sent out the copy, and I was(and still am) mortified. I have since fixed this grave mistake, but I haven’t mustered up the courage to send them a new copy(along with a note of apology). Yes, it’s a pride thing, but the shame I feel over this error, when I went to such effort to get their permission in the first place, makes me feel like I let them down. I know I should get over it, and I will, but that doesn’t make the error any less cringeworthy.
The lesson, I think, is that we all make mistakes, and we have to try to correct them when they’re discovered. That can be much harder than it sounds. Human arrogance and ego get in the way as we wonder what the reaction will be. And I do wonder…what will the reaction, if any, be?