Friday, July 25, 2014


I was looking at some of the writers’ discussion forums on the other day and found one called, “Hilarious Mistakes (Mostly in Self-Published Books).”

The forum asked readers to contribute any comical mistakes and typos they’d come across in books.  The minute I started reading the list of mistakes, I was hooked.

The problem with self-published books is anyone can write and publish one nowadays, and sometimes the editing (or lack thereof) leaves a lot to be desired.   

In a story about the war in Vietnam, for example: “Private Thompson desperately wanted to go search for Natalie, but he couldn’t risk going a-wall.”

I’m really hoping he meant AWOL.

And, on the subject of breaking the law, one book had: “He realized what he had done could send him to a penile colony.”

All I could envision was a nudist colony – all males.

Sometimes the readers’ comments are just as funny as the writers’ errors. One author wrote about a woman who worked in her family’s restaurant in Rio de Janeiro in the year 1502. 

A reader commented: “A family restaurant in 1502? I can see it all now…the boar is cooking on a spit over a fire above a pit. The guests are led to tree stumps to sit on, and they pay for their meals with turnips. There is little trouble getting a reservation.”  And instead of Ronald McDonald, they have a court jester?

A book’s description also had me chuckling: “This book is a copulation of the author’s most popular short stories.”

I think the author had better keep a close watch on those short stories of his, or they might keep breeding behind his back.

Then, in a love story about a princess: “She waded through the collection of gold-diggers and rogues to find a suitable husband and provide her with a male hair.”

To which one reader commented, “I guess that immediately eliminates all of the bald guys!”

And in another book, a new country was created: “Dominic loved and missed his native country of Guadalajara.”

I think this one, however, should get the award for the most creative spelling: “He was very intelligent - an aspiring pupil of oceanology and a future valid-Victorian.”

And another one: “She could tell he’d had too much to drink because he walked with an unsteady gate.”

I have a couple unsteady gates in my yard he can borrow if he needs another one.

Anyway, we all were having fun with this forum until someone named Rick joined and accused us of being evil trolls who were mocking serious writers and deliberately trying to make them look foolish.

Many replied that if authors write something they intend to sell to the public, they shouldn’t make readers pay good money for books filled with mistakes.

Rick responded with, “Don’t tell me you’d actually stop reading a book just because it has a few mistakes in it!  Nobody’s perfect! Besides that, if the plot is good, you probably won’t even notice the mistakes!”

One reply was, “Maybe the authors should read this forum, then! Don’t you think they might want to know when they do make errors, so they can correct them – especially in the e-book formats, which are easy to change?”

“No!” Rick answered. “Give them credit for actually finishing a book and stop picking on them!”

So this Rick guy single-handedly put a damper on a forum that previously had been nothing more than some innocent fun. After that, every time someone tried to post another error he or she had discovered, Rick would comment, “Ha, ha!  Very funny!  Get a life!” or something equally as negative.

I began to get the distinct feeling Rick might have been one of the authors whose goofs were mentioned in the forum.

And speaking of goofs, I'm currently writing a romance novel and was reading over what I'd written the other night, when I found a mistake that made me burst out laughing. I wrote: “He pulled a pistol from the waste of his breeches.”

I’d unintentionally made the poor guy sound as if he’d had an unfortunate accident in his pants.

I’d post it in the “hilarious mistakes” forum, but I don’t think I’m brave enough to deal with Rick’s reaction.



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