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View Full Version : What's the biggest editorial mistake you've seen?



honeysock
08-18-2010, 04:56 PM
I've seen numerous typos in print over the years--they're fun to stumble across in a weird sort of way, kinda like finding an Easter egg in July--but I found a big mistake in the book I was reading last night:

--It was a NYT #1 best-selling author (75 novels, multiple genres)
--The mistake: a character was described 30 pages in as having "near-black hair," blue eyes, and a Mediterranean skin tone, and then about 30 pages later, she was red-headed with hazel eyes and freckles.
--She looked "just like her father" in both instances, and he is a character in the book also (haven't gotten to his description yet).

Any one else read come across mistakes like this recently in their reading?

ETA: Just visited this author's website. She actually has pictures of all the characters in her books. Apparently the red hair won out.

BenPanced
08-18-2010, 05:03 PM
The author's name was misspelled in the web URL on their bio page. I consider that one so heinous, I haven't counted anything else since.

elindsen
08-18-2010, 05:18 PM
I've read two descriptions like you. And one novel I guessed the MC to be around 50 cuz it was the series. In fact she never aged when her daughter did 15yrs.

honeysock
08-18-2010, 05:28 PM
I've read two descriptions like you. And one novel I guessed the MC to be around 50 cuz it was the series. In fact she never aged when her daughter did 15yrs.

I guess that second author (of the series) was following comic-strip guidelines. :D

Maryn
08-18-2010, 05:54 PM
I no longer remember which thriller it was or by who, but there was a gun which wasn't there when the hero needed it, then was (and was used), then wasn't again (if only he'd had a gun, he thought!), back and forth for the final third of the novel.

I'm guessing somebody did a hasty rewrite between Draft X and Draft X+1 and missed a lot of details, which any competent editor should have caught.

Maryn, amazed at what slips past

honeysock
08-18-2010, 06:00 PM
I no longer remember which thriller it was or by who, but there was a gun which wasn't there when the hero needed it, then was (and was used), then wasn't again (if only he'd had a gun, he thought!), back and forth for the final third of the novel.

Kind of ruins it for the reader, I suppose, when you're yelling at the character who's wishing he had a gun: "But you do! You do! Don't you remember?"

Chris P
08-18-2010, 06:02 PM
A famous one is in Don Quixote where Sancho's pony Dapple is stolen but then he's riding her again a few chapters later.

I've noticed minor ones, like a character who was breaking into a building through a sky light threw his backpack into the building but then pulled a rope from it to repel down.

Being an editor/proofreader I've seen some doozies in customer orders, but I assume you mean errors in final products for this thread.

Parametric
08-18-2010, 06:05 PM
Misspelling the title. On the spine. :tongue

edit: This is a joke, since I doubt the poor editor was at fault for this. :tongue

Becky Black
08-18-2010, 06:46 PM
I read a book - wait, I mean I read part of a book - where the hunky Arab hero was described as looking like Lawrence of Arabia. So totally not an Arab then? I stopped reading. I don't expect Her Hunky Sheikh category romances to be drenched in minute authentic detail about the life, politics and culture of the Middle East, but that was just too awful. I'd have literally thrown it at the wall if I hadn't been in Starbucks at the time.

I've done some corkers myself. I once typed a "her" instead of a "his", which made the context mean either:
a) a male character was secretly a woman
or
b) the goverment had arrested a horse

Sunnyside
08-18-2010, 08:47 PM
Apart from the error in Don Quixote, if I recall correctly, there's also one in Robinson Crusoe, where Crusoe swims out to the shipwreck naked, then once on board the ship, begins putting biscuits in his pocket.

Of course, that was 1719, so avoiding yellow fever was probably more important than editing for continuity...

DancingMaenid
08-18-2010, 08:53 PM
I read a book with several instances where characters would meet someone or discover something, only to repeat the action 50 pages or so later, with similar prose and dialogue.

Miss Plum
08-18-2010, 10:31 PM
The author's name was misspelled in the web URL on their bio page. I consider that one so heinous, I haven't counted anything else since.

Ooh, that happened to my published author friend on her page on the publisher's website. It took them weeks to fix it.

Worst mistake I saw was in debut litfic, author all Breadloaf and elite: a dead character mysteriously came to life in a later scene. It wasn't symbolic or a dream-sequence or imaginary or anything like that. This dead character actually came back for a (badly written) conversation. The gods and gatekeepers of the publishing world suddenly descended to earth and became mortal for me.

Alpha Echo
08-18-2010, 10:42 PM
I haven't read it yet, but my husband read Howard Stern's Private Parts, and he said it would go from like page 1-62, then 42-103, repeating chapters. In the end, he was missing about 4 chapters of the book.

But that's more a publishing thing than an editorial thing, right?

Said The Sun
08-18-2010, 11:05 PM
Ok. This might not exactly be the place to complain about this. But I just recently picked up Dracula, My Love by Syrie James. As you can imagine, it's a fan-fiction kind of thing, where we focus on Mina's point-of-view during the classic Dracula story.
I don’t really read fan-fiction but I was open for something different, and willing to immerse in a good vampire story without giving in to the Twilight train wreck. So I take this one thinking I'm being innovative and clever. Only to get home and find a typo on every other page. And I don't just mean misspelled words; I mean an abusive misuse of "have" instead of "has" and little nuisances like that; that could’ve easily been corrected with just a little bit more care. Seriously. It's so bad that I feel like jumping off the couch and grabbing a neon highlighter.
To add to that, the story is just meh. (but that's OK, because it gives me faith that if such crap can be published, so can my brain secretions.)
This book cost me thirteen dollars. Thirteen dollars of my life. I was robbed. I think the editor owes me these thirteen dollars, Syrie James an explanation, and whomever he works for his god damned resignation.

Sorry, I've been meaning to vent about this since last night, right after I threw the book at the wall and attempted to scratch my eyes out. I feel better now.

lnmorton
08-18-2010, 11:56 PM
In a book I recently read, the main character's age kept changing. He was "nearly 17", and then "a month away from his 18th birthday", with only a couple of days passing in between, and then he supposedly turned 18 (and this was a plot point) but two scenes later he was "only 17 years old" again. The same character also underwent an unexpected name-change for one scene.

Alitriona
08-19-2010, 01:11 AM
Ok. This might not exactly be the place to complain about this. But I just recently picked up Dracula, My Love by Syrie James. As you can imagine, it's a fan-fiction kind of thing, where we focus on Mina's point-of-view during the classic Dracula story.


I heard about this story. It bothered me, Dracula is something close to my heart. I don't mean vampires, just Dracula and I disliked seeing this story published. My mind was screaming leave it alone.

I was debating reading it because I really don't like being negative about something unless I've read it. I guess you've just answered it for me.

citymouse
08-19-2010, 01:20 AM
Well there is this book that has a scene where a group meet in the MCs hotel room. Included in this group is a couple about to be married. After the meeting the guy about to be married asks everyone to leave so he and his intended can have some whoopie time. Everyone leaves and it wasn't his room!
This is a published book! It's sales are quite good! No one has caught it--yet! Thank goodness! It's mine! :)
C

Said The Sun
08-19-2010, 01:43 AM
I heard about this story. It bothered me, Dracula is something close to my heart. I don't mean vampires, just Dracula and I disliked seeing this story published. My mind was screaming leave it alone.

I was debating reading it because I really don't like being negative about something unless I've read it. I guess you've just answered it for me.



Yep. It's a knock-off. It makes you feel cheap as you read it. :D But still, I love Dracula, and I thought it'd be interesting to perceive him from a different angle. I've never read anything else from Syrie James, so I can't really judge. Here, she writes very much to Stoker's style and she keeps to the original outline, but it just isn't doing it for me. I might pick it up again (I'm halfway through) I hate starting a book and not finishing it.
So far, it's mostly Dracula's side of the story, second Mina. It has interesting theories and "what if's" and a sexier side to Dracula, but it lacks the "wow-factor" of the original, and makes Dracula quite frankly, seem kind of lame. I like my Dracula hard-core.

Becky Black
08-19-2010, 02:28 AM
Oh, I read a book recently where a minor character's name kept switching between Hatcher and Thatcher.

benbradley
08-19-2010, 04:32 AM
In recent years I tend to notice errors (a misspelling, a logical error in a sentence) when reading books where I don't recall finding them before. I suppose this comes from learning a little about writing and having a more critical eye, and most especially expecting a published book to be perfect.

The author's name was misspelled in the web URL on their bio page. I consider that one so heinous, I haven't counted anything else since.
I recall Isaac Asimov, in a memoir or one of his "Opus ..." books, complaining of one of his books published with his name, in really large type on the front cover, spelled wrong.

I haven't read it yet, but my husband read Howard Stern's Private Parts, and he said it would go from like page 1-62, then 42-103, repeating chapters. In the end, he was missing about 4 chapters of the book.

But that's more a publishing thing than an editorial thing, right?
Yeah. That's more specifically a printer thing. I've got a book with the pages messed up like that, I've been tempted to email the publisher and ask for a replacement.

Trying to think offhand, there are many books I didn't read all the way through for various reasons, but in relation to this thread, I thought up the question "Is there a book which it was a mistake to be published?" It only took me a few moments to think of one. :D

Namatu
08-19-2010, 04:40 AM
I haven't read it yet, but my husband read Howard Stern's Private Parts, and he said it would go from like page 1-62, then 42-103, repeating chapters. In the end, he was missing about 4 chapters of the book.

But that's more a publishing thing than an editorial thing, right?That's a printer error. The publisher wouldn't have seen it until after the book was on its way to stores.

Biggest editorial mistake I've seen: my name in the middle of a paragraph, with a question for me.

I wasn't reviewing manuscript for that project. I have no idea why someone thought to ask me a question, or why the copy editor and proofreader both missed it, but the memory entertains me - and makes me cringe.

Miss Plum
08-19-2010, 05:52 AM
Oh, another one. My published author friend, bless her heart, accidentally said "David Duke" instead of "Buck Duke" (father of Doris) in her biography of a southern tobacco icon! Some reviewers caught it, but nary an editor nor proofreader all the way up and down the editorial chain did.

Varthikes
08-19-2010, 07:07 AM
I've come across at least two different books, each from a different author, where a character was misidentified with the name of another character. This was in the narration and was not a case of the POV character mistaking identity. In one of the books, this happens for an entire sequence.

Bartholomew
08-19-2010, 07:44 AM
I ran an article a few months back that basically said Vietnamese people eat dog instead of cow. It was a typo I made that got compounded when the copy-editor shifted some sentences around. The girl being quoted was... angry. Just a little.

<Slinks away>

Maxx
08-19-2010, 04:15 PM
Misspelling the title. On the spine. :tongue

edit: This is a joke, since I doubt the poor editor was at fault for this. :tongue

The blurb on the back of a book about Mary Tudor that had Oliver Cromwell doing Thomas Cromwell's job.

cameron_chapman
08-19-2010, 05:18 PM
The worst one I've seen lately was in The Dark Tower series, where for one line the protagonist is called Ronald instead of Roland. Can't think of any others off the top of my head.

I'm always more forgiving of issues in a first edition hardcover book, but by the time it hits mass market paperback, it should be damn near perfect.

ladyleeona
08-22-2010, 08:48 PM
I read a book by an NYT bestselling author a few days ago, and a MC's description changed magically halfway through. But near the end of the book the description was back to the initial one. I haven't decided if the change back makes it worse or better.

Curly hair or straight hair, dammit.... It's not that difficult to pick one. Or to toss in some hot rollers or a straightener.

celeber
08-22-2010, 11:51 PM
I have actually read several NYT bestsellers with description, name, backstory, and item inconsistencies. My favorite was when on of the author's recognized the error and with some creative writing corrected it in a later book in the series.

Kewii
08-23-2010, 01:10 AM
When I was young, I read one of those Sweet Valley High/College/Twins books that I'm guessing must have been rushed through printing. I remember finding a lot of typos, but the biggest one was the misspelling of 'Chapter'.

LilliCray
08-23-2010, 02:07 AM
I swear I catch every freaking typo, every missed comma/period, every pronoun-antecedent error in every book I read, and it always jars me a bit. I almost wish I didn't notice them, but I'm hoping it means I'll be better able to avoid those mistakes in my own writing, or at least catch them in the edit.

Although, in the series I'm currently reading, I noticed two instances where the author swapped Character A's name for Character B. Both times, the same wrong name for the same character. Can't remember if they happened in the same book, but both really threw me for a full minute each while I stared at the book and tried to figure out if I was seeing things or that mistake was really in there.

I notice lots of other consistency errors, but I can't remember--

Oh! Another series I read mainly for guilty pleasure features a set of twins. In one of the books, the female twin is thinking about how she and her brother have always been able to do that twin sense-y thing that people think is so cool. In a different book, she specifically thought the exact opposite--that that stuff never happened between her and her twin.

I mean, between books, it's harder to catch that kind of consistency error, but dang! Contradiction much?

I love this thread. :D

Christine N.
08-23-2010, 04:35 AM
Those continuity errors irk the crap out of me. I once was copy editing a piece (freelance) for someone whose book was going to reprint, and the original had been scanned in OCR, so I had to find all the mistakes the software made.

At one point, the MC had forgotten her cell phone at home on the nightstand. The author made a point of saying it. Then five pages later, she was making a phone call with it. I pointed this out so hopefully the author could fix it.

I am meticulous with such things BECAUSE they drive me so crazy. Typos I can live with (a few, anyway).

Jersey Chick
08-23-2010, 06:20 AM
In one of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books, one of the secondary characters has the backstory of being a former NY Giants cheerleader.

The Giants don't have cheerleaders. They haven't in my lifetime and the character in question was supposed to be in her early 30s in the book (which would have put her in my age bracket at the time.)

It wouldn't have taken much to find out, but either Evanovich (or her editor) just assumed that football team = cheerleaders.

It didn't ruin the book, but it's the first thing I recall whenever one of these threads pops up. :D

NiaR
08-23-2010, 09:01 AM
I was reading a book with a character who took his shirt off because it was hot outside that night. Then a couple of seconds later he slipped his cigarette into the front pocket of his shirt--that he was somehow wearing again.

I looked back over it like whaa??
You definitely do not want your reader to focus on that when they could be reading on, haha.

Becky Black
08-23-2010, 10:08 AM
One thing about being a writer - especially once you've got a lot of editing experience under your belt - you never just "read" anything again, you proof read everything!

MissMacchiato
08-23-2010, 10:16 AM
haha, I have to work on this one, one character is called Selena, but my beta caught the few times I've written Serena by accident. She also told me a scene in which I'd written how too much alcohol had fried the MC's Neutrons, not her NEURONS.

Thank god she's good like that, just one extra letter and I'd have looked like a complete fool!

JMC2009
08-23-2010, 04:31 PM
I was reading a book that was describing a nice dinner scene on board a cruise ship. Unfortunately, the music must have been terrible because "the violinist was strolling around, his bow tucked firmly under his chin."

Manuel Royal
08-23-2010, 06:32 PM
Ok. This might not exactly be the place to complain about this. But I just recently picked up Dracula, My Love by Syrie James. As you can imagine, it's a fan-fiction kind of thing, where we focus on Mina's point-of-view during the classic Dracula story.Don't we already have Mina's point of view? Stoker's novel is epistolary, including Mina's diary. Is the idea that she only pretended not to like him in her regular diary, but she also kept a super-secret diary where she drew hearts and wrote "Mrs. Mina Dracula" over and over?

Misspellings are one thing, but continuity errors are really annoying; especially when they create an impossible contradiction within the world of the story. Let me just say this:
He didn't get out of the cockadoody car!

Carolanne Patton
08-23-2010, 08:16 PM
I just finished The Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton and one of the antagonists started out named "Mercia" and about three quarters of the way through her name was suddenly "Columbine". WTF?

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
08-25-2010, 07:50 AM
I bought a book on the Titanic years ago in an antique store. It was a nonfiction book on the sinking (not Walter Lord, though).

I couldn't believe that such a well known date as April 14, 1912 had somehow been co-opted to 1913. Now, a typo I could understand if it only happened once. But it was repeated several times!! Did this person even go NEAR a reference source??!!

Becky Black
08-25-2010, 04:26 PM
I bought a book on the Titanic years ago in an antique store. It was a nonfiction book on the sinking (not Walter Lord, though).

I couldn't believe that such a well known date as April 14, 1912 had somehow been co-opted to 1913. Now, a typo I could understand if it only happened once. But it was repeated several times!! Did this person even go NEAR a reference source??!!

Now that's just...wow. If that had been a new book I'd have demanded my money back from the publisher for that!

I find mistakes of that sort much more damaging to a book in non fiction than in fiction. In fiction they are just annoying, but I might still be able to enjoy the book anyway. A non fiction book, whole different thing. I start thinking "if you got that wrong, what else are you talking out of your hat about?"

Happened to me with a book about writing. A couple of the examples he cited had some kind of error - he referred to Daisy in The Great Gatsby as Dolly. He misattributed a quote from the Sherlock Holmes canon, putting it in Hound of the Baskervilles when it's actually in one of the short stories. And that made me think well if those ones are wrong and I happen to know that, are there other wrong ones that I don't happen to know? And I just lost faith in the writer and stopped reading the book.

Mistress Elysia
08-25-2010, 05:48 PM
I just finished The Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton and one of the antagonists started out named "Mercia" and about three quarters of the way through her name was suddenly "Columbine". WTF?

I have to say, getting names wrong is probably the least of Laurell K. Hamilton's problems...

Said The Sun
08-25-2010, 06:07 PM
Don't we already have Mina's point of view? Stoker's novel is epistolary, including Mina's diary. Is the idea that she only pretended not to like him in her regular diary, but she also kept a super-secret diary where she drew hearts and wrote "Mrs. Mina Dracula" over and over?

Misspellings are one thing, but continuity errors are really annoying; especially when they create an impossible contradiction within the world of the story. Let me just say this:

Exactly. It's quite disgusting. I finished it (thank God) and threw that crap in the pile of books to one day sell on ebay or plainly give away. I just skimmed through the rest of it (still finding countless typos).
I guess it all came down to portraying Dracula as a softy, Mina as a little tramp, and Jonathan a pathetic loser. Even Van Helsing was clearly retarded in this book. Don't read it. But if you really want to, I'll give you mine. :D

Manuel Royal
08-27-2010, 05:21 PM
Exactly. It's quite disgusting. I finished it (thank God) and threw that crap in the pile of books to one day sell on ebay or plainly give away. I just skimmed through the rest of it (still finding countless typos).
I guess it all came down to portraying Dracula as a softy, Mina as a little tramp, and Jonathan a pathetic loser. Even Van Helsing was clearly retarded in this book. Don't read it. But if you really want to, I'll give you mine. :DThanks, I'll pass!

For an alternate view of Dracula, I recommend Fred Saberhagen's The Dracula Tape, The Holmes-Dracula File, and A Friend of the Family. The second one is not only a pastiche of Dracula and Sherlock Holmes, it brings in one of the heroes of Dracula as a villain. Entertaining stuff.

spike
08-28-2010, 01:48 PM
In a John Jakes novel, one of the bicentennial series (although I think that series was renamed in later years, but I read them in the 70's and that's what they were called) a character threw a pregnant relative down the stairs, causing her to go into labor. He then went into the night and was assumed dead for many years.

Later, as an adult, the baby born that night had vague recollections of the man. I guess she was an in utero-psychic. Pissed me off, because, damn, don't they remember what was written before?

Peoplesleep
08-28-2010, 02:34 PM
In one book by Erle Stanley Gardner, one character was named Silvia.
Almost every time she was mentioned, they spelt it "Slivia". And that happened about ten times.

The Lonely One
08-29-2010, 12:17 AM
I may be a freak but the errors don't usually bother me. IMO they're like birthmarks, and fun to find (easter eggs!).

But that's--clearly--just me :)

Bekah
08-29-2010, 02:14 AM
I love one in a Stephen King story, where someone watched the hour hand of a clock move from one to ten, or something like that. They were supposed to be waiting for either ten or forty-five minutes, not ten hours.

AnneMarble
08-29-2010, 06:19 AM
Misspelling the title. On the spine. :tongue

edit: This is a joke, since I doubt the poor editor was at fault for this. :tongue
I used to have a copy of Algis Budry's Rogue Planet where the spine called it Rouge Planet. It made me think of a science class question where the textbook asked "What is the makeup of this planet?" (*rimshot*)

Edited to Add:
Speaking of editorial errors :o I got the title wrong, too. It's Rogue Moon, not Rogue Planet.

In the 1980s, I bought a paperback serial killer novel called Dr. O. The author's name on the cover did not match the author's name on the title page. I was annoyed at the book but also by the publisher for taking so little care with them. The author (since revealed as Robert W. Walker :)) explained in response to my (rather impassioned) review (http://www.amazon.com/review/R2YAUJN5MIUZU5/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm) that the publisher was in turmoil at the time. Now he made me want to read the book again.

I was reading Graham Masterton's message board, and he explained that his name was spelled as Graham Masterson on some copies of his books. The publisher was supposed to pulp them, but instead, they sent them to other countries, probably thinking he would never see them. ;)

BlackBriar
08-29-2010, 06:36 AM
I have actually read several NYT bestsellers with description, name, backstory, and item inconsistencies. My favorite was when on of the author's recognized the error and with some creative writing corrected it in a later book in the series.

I love it when new characters are created that way. Wheel of Time had a couple of situations like that.

AnneMarble
08-29-2010, 06:54 AM
When I was young, I read one of those Sweet Valley High/College/Twins books that I'm guessing must have been rushed through printing. I remember finding a lot of typos, but the biggest one was the misspelling of 'Chapter'.
Oh. My. God.
:roll:

Medievalist
08-29-2010, 07:33 AM
Ayn Rand

Manuel Royal
08-29-2010, 05:34 PM
Ayn Rand
Good one.

H. Rider Haggard's greatest fictional hero is either Allan Quatermain or Allan Quartermain, depending on the book and which edition.

Atlantis
12-03-2010, 09:23 AM
I once read a star wars booked that had spelt Han Solo's first name as "Ham" that was pretty funny, lol.

LaceWing
12-03-2010, 10:54 AM
I once came across half a chapter that had clearly been cut-and-pasted into the wrong place in the book. This was a work of one of the big names -- not Reichs, but the other forensic series, the one with the FBI niece.

Stacia Kane
12-03-2010, 11:13 AM
I read a book a few years ago--it was actually a TV book club selection, though I didn't know that when I bought it--so littered with inconsistencies my reading became a game of "Spot the error."

The MC's age changed repeatedly: She was seventeen, the eighteen, then seventeen, then twenty due to addition/subtraction with the original age given for her mother, which also changed from 35 to 37 to 34.

In one scene a character is described as sitting on a couch with the hems of her trousers wet from rain. At the end of that scene she stands up and smooths her skirt.

The MC is spending the night at a friend's house, and she has a thing for the friend's brother. A chapter ends with a line about how they said goodnight and she didn't see him again for several weeks. The next chapter is about how awkward it was to see him at breakfast the very next morning.

Those are the ones I can remember offhand, and I read the book five years ago, I think. There were more. There were a lot more. I'm not one to say books read like they haven't been edited or whatever, because everybody makes mistakes, but in this case I honestly seriously had to wonder if anyone had read through it before publication. Those were not small errors, they were major continuity issues.

The idea that a popular TV show actually picked it for their book club, even with the myriad mistakes, still makes me very sad. I didn't watch the show, so don't know if the problems were mentioned on it, but I somehow doubt they were.

Amarie
12-03-2010, 04:42 PM
I nearly let a continuity issue slip into with my next book. It was from a chapter I had rewritten countless times and neither the copy editor nor the production editor caught it, so I'm glad I did. In one paragraph I have a dog being sent down a cliff with a kid character, and in the next paragraph the dog is back up on top of the cliff. Spouted wings? Teleported?

Torgo
12-03-2010, 05:03 PM
I once failed to spot the word HAPINESS in big 20pt bold type right in the middle of the page. Some sort of irony.

Priene
12-03-2010, 05:19 PM
The Wicked Bible (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicked_Bible) is probably the all-time winner, with its reinterpretation of the seventh commandment:

Thou shalt commit adultery.

rainsmom
12-03-2010, 08:23 PM
Caught an error in the book I was reading last night. The story ends with the protagonist's birthday on July 26. However many of the events of the book -- which are supposed to happen before his birthday -- happen in August.

Bubastes
12-03-2010, 08:46 PM
I've mentioned this before, but I read a story in Glimmer Train where the author put University of Michigan in East Lansing. NOT COOL.

jdm
05-02-2011, 02:36 AM
My sister found one in a book where a Muslim character made a vow by swearing on Allah's grave. She was bummed out for several weeks about it because she didn't even realize God was dead.

timewaster
05-02-2011, 03:31 AM
I have to say, getting names wrong is probably the least of Laurell K. Hamilton's problems...

The name thing has happened to me. The book was edited, desk edited, copy edited and proofed and none of us caught it. I had a minor character called Roberta - mentioned about twice. As one of the main characters was called 'Roberts' I changed 'Roberta' to 'Ruby'. Only in the first edition she was called 'Roberta' at the top of the page and 'Ruby' at the bottom... so it goes.

Nick Blaze
05-02-2011, 04:02 AM
I also don't usually think of them as terrible things and they don't usually jar me from the novel... unless it makes me burst out laughing. In which case I was glad it existed. I've written a few errors on first drafts that were hilarious, but none have gone through professional editors.

I remember reading a book once, though I cannot remember a name or author, in which a character actually 100% changed genders a quarter of the way through. The character name was fantasy, so it doesn't jump out as female or male, but all of a sudden the man had boobs and a skimpy dress.

AlwaysJuly
05-02-2011, 04:03 AM
I'm not sure I'd call this an editorial mistake as much as something the writer never should have done, but... I read the first book in a fantasy series that had a lovely descriptive paragraph. So lovely, in fact, that when I read book two the next day, the exact same paragraph, word for word, made its reappearance. I mean, really? The author as he was cutting and pasting didn't think anyone would ever notice, or that it didn't matter?

maestrowork
05-02-2011, 04:35 AM
In one of James Patterson's book, the tense shifts from present tense to past tense mid-scene and mid-chapter. I'm so surprised -- did the editor fall asleep? What's more surprising is that no one seemed to catch it or care -- the same mistake propagated to subsequent editions. I guess Patterson is so big that no one dare to edit his work?