Inaccuracy, thy name is my pet peeve!
When I wrote my first published novel back in the mid-'80s, it was a historical in Regency garb, printed by a major New York house (with a 2nd printing, no less). Avenues for research were the local library, and deets were scarce. There were no special interest loops, no blogs devoted to topics, no Google Search. You were on your own to thumb through musty tomes in hopes of catching errors before they reached reader's always discerning eyes. Your one saving grace was that your editor or copy editor would pick up the slack in spotting erroneous gaffs. But I didn't and they didn't, and I was slammed by a nameless judge in my first major contest. Lesson freaking learned. Accuracy matters.
Whether in historicals, paranormals, contemporaries or eroticas, facts is facts, and it's our job as authors to get them right . . . and keep them consistent. Earmark factoids and questions while doing that first draft and look them up before you go on to the next (and news flash: Wikipedia isn't always right). Keep a running log of details involving characters (and horses) for names, colors, etc., of weather conditions, time of day, distance time lines, all those nitpicky details that some OCD reader (not mentioning any names) will immediately spot and not be able to get over.
But it's hard to fix something that's wrong when you don't know something's wrong. Read extensively in your genre/era, not just fiction but non-fiction, too. Search out those unique tidbits of setting and dialogue and fact. Ask someone familiar with the genre to BETA read, and ALWAYS have your work professionally edited before it gets released to sniff out those miraculous (and annoying) changes of sex and hue . . . unless its Sci-Fi/paranormal and could believably happen.
Writing and editing is more than gerunds and Oxford commas. The devil is in the details . . . so get them right.
So what's your on the page pet peeve?
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.
The awesome co-hosts for the August 2nd posting of the IWSG will be Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Twitter hashtag is #IWSG