Spot the Delibrate Mistook

Hi all you Quaint folks,
I’m having to keep a lot of plates spinning in the air at the moment. The sequel to The Equivoque Principle (The Eleventh Plague for those not in the know) is currently going through the eagle eyes of the copy-editor and having a good editor can mean the difference between a good book and a fantastic one. So, I’ve told her that she has carte blanche to pick up on the tiniest of details that I might have got wrong/need to adjust during the course of the book. Thankfully, so far the things that she has found are minor and usually easily fixed by a matter of adding, deleting or substituting a word or a line.

One thing that she is proving to be invaluable for is her knowledge of Egypt – a plus, seeing as the book is set there! For example, she has informed me that a river that I note in the book (set in 1853) was not actually created until a hundred years later – something overlooked by me during my research of Egypt. I approximated where the book was set, and studied maps to try and ‘place’ the book’s settings.  But even after all that studious effort, still this thing slipped through the cracks. I hadn’t even considered that a river that exists ‘now’ would not have been in existence ‘then’. And these are the sort of things that are a constant source of worry for me as an author. My heart dropped when I read emails from people after Equivoque telling me that certain things were impossible because of the period they were set in (although a recent one was so unbelievably condescending that I found it hard not to retailiate. I did resist, though. Yay, me). A good copy-editor picks up on these things before they go to print, and a fantastic one picks up on all the tiniest, minutest details that are wrong or are open to misinterpretaton.

Another thing she picked up on was the use of the word ‘speleologist’ (as I’m sure all of you know is someone who studies cave formations). Now, my thought process was simply that in the course of the story, one of the central characters refers to herself as a speleologist. Simple enough, right? Wrong, because my eagle-eyed spotter has informed me that the term was not in current use in 1853, and consequenlty that one word is like a pin to a balloon. Of course you might argue -so what? Who’s going to know what that word even means, let alone whay year it was put into popular use, and the answer to that, my friends, is simple: I would know. And that would be enough.

As much as I would like to believe that every word, sentence, paragraph, chapter, book that I type is perfect, I know that this is far from the truth. I’m a realist, and I know my books won’t change the world, but they arent intended to. They are intended to be a fun read, nothing more – but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want them to be the bestest funnest reads that I can make. Anyway, that’s my two cents worth.


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