Writing Notes: What are *you* doing here?

I got back the edits for my next short erotica this week, and was happy to see mainly nit-picky things (that I was equally as happy to fix). My editor even added a couple commas – crazy! The one thing that most interested me though is a by-product of working on several stories at one time.

If you have a print copy of Tempest (it’s fixed in the digital files), you probably know that towards the end, there’s a sentence where the hero (Jake) is mistakenly referred to as “Jeff”. I know exactly why this happened – I was working on the serial at the same time I was drafting Her Private Chef, and the hero’s name in HPC is “Jeff”. When I write late at night, sometimes I’m so tired I probably shouldn’t be writing – and that’s generally when I make those types of mistakes.

I’ll admit, part of the reason I’ve left it in the print version is to annoy all the writerly perfectionists out there who feel the need to point it out as if it’s some sort of horrible wart on my novella. To them, it is. To me, it’s more like that one flaw that proves something is *real* rather than just a cookie cutter of everything else. But I freely admit to having an odd view of mistakes. I’m not a perfectionist like so many of my peers – while I do want things to be *as close* as I can get to perfect, a few small nits will not leave me tossing and turning at night.

In any case, the reason I bring this up is, my editor noticed that in my latest short story, I switched the female main character’s name (Kaylee) for Monica, my main female lead in The Biker’s Wench. The stories are completely different genres, and the characters are completely different as well – yet I was probably writing late at night, very tired, and somehow interchanged the name. I had to go back through that scene to make sure it didn’t affect the actual story because they are such different characters (luckily, it didn’t).

Needless to say, when you consider how many drafts I have going at any one time (normally at least four), there’s a pretty good chance that some night as I’m typing away, a character will sneak into the wrong story. With any luck, he or she won’t leave too much of a mess to clean up later.

The obvious solution for me is not to write when I’m dead tired. Sometimes that can’t be helped though. Yet another reason I need an editor (you know, along with lecturing me when I spell “breathe” as “breath” twice in one manuscript). Don’t know what I’d do without her.  

If you work on several WIPs at once, do your characters sneak out and play in the others? Or is it just me they do this to?  

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11 comments on “Writing Notes: What are *you* doing here?

  1. Carol

    LOL I notice you didn’t mention that your editor read over the story three times before picking up on the ‘Monica’ switch. 🙂

    I’ve worked on several stories at the same time and while I can’t recall switching names between documents, I have been known to switch a name within the same document, or forgetting what I’ve named a minor character. I’ve also got a bad habit of changing the spelling of a character’s name without realizing it.

    At least you’ve got overtiredness as your excuse. What’s mine?

  2. Jamie DeBree

    LOL – I should have! Shows just how dedicated you are to have read it that many times in as many days! 😉

    Changing the spelling…hmm. I may have done that occasionally. I can imagine it would be particularly difficult in fantasy/sci-fi, where the names are less standardized?

    I’m quite sure your excuse is that you get so wrapped up in the story that the pesky details fall to the side, where you have to pick them up later…

    Right? 😉

  3. Amy Rose Davis

    I don’t recall different characters sneaking in, but I have changed my mind about who does something and messed up the names.

    Oh, here’s one… The serial on my blog is about the brother of a character in Ravenmarked. I intended to have him as a character in my series, so I’d developed the character. He was going to show up in book two, and I had several scenes written around his character and hers interacting.

    Well, then I decided to take him out of book two and do the serial with him and maybe write further adventures around his character. But I still needed someone for book two–someone my female character had previously known, because it was important that he bring news from home. So I decided to vex her by making the guy who brings news from home an old lover. The dynamic is actually a lot better, but the problem is there are still some previously written scenes where I refer to “her brother.” There’s a bit of a squick factor there, and I’m being REALLY careful to edit those out before I publish! 🙂

    It might be easier for me to keep the characters straight because often my worlds are so very different, where if you’re working in more contemporary environments, it’s easier for your head to picture people from different WIPs in the same setting…?? Just a thought.

    Fun question!


  4. Jamie DeBree

    Wow Amy…that sounds…convoluted! LOL But if it’s working better, that’s what matters. I suspect I’ll have some of your same issues once I get farther into the Fantasy Ranch series, where characters are overlapping books.

    I’m sure it would be easier if I wrote in different worlds. All the genres I write in are contemporary, so I think you might be on to something there.

    As long as I don’t accidentally kill one of my rom. suspense or erotica characters in a thriller, things should be okay…though I do plan to intentionally have some overlap eventually. It will be different when I do it on purpose though. 😉

  5. Amy Rose Davis

    LOL. It’s not actually that convoluted. I probably just didn’t explain it very well. 🙂 I just have one rule in my writing: Make it as complicated as possible so no one can copy me. 😉

    Kidding. I just like to move people around. The power goes to my head.

  6. Brooklyn Ann

    I have read Stephen King’s IT 11 times and though he has excellent editors, there’s more than 10 typos in it. I think you’re doing fine.

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  8. India Drummond

    I usually have several projects in several stages, but I don’t think I could compose on several at once. Compose one, edit another, format a third, promote a fourth, yes. That I can do. =)

  9. Jamie D.

    Eleven times? Wow – I take it you hate the book?

  10. Jamie D.

    I dare say that’s a smarter approach. I do tend to overextend myself… (aside from the 4 drafts I have in progress, I also have one in revisions, one in formatting, and several being promoted at any given time). 

  11. Jamie D.

    I was just teasing, Amy – you explained it perfectly. LOL

    Power over…well, everything, is one of the great perks of writing…