Monday, February 7, 2011

Mistakes in Erotic Romance

So here's the question to other erotic romance writers and readers. How particular is the audience out there and how tolerant are they of mistakes? We all make them as writers, whether it be a word we mistyped or a detail we got wrong. Our editors are amazing and catch most of the errors, but they are human and things get missed.

I've been lucky. None of my readers have emailed me to correct any mistakes that bugged the shit out of them. But I stopped to wonder, do erotic romance readers email in about mistakes to the authors? Are they more forgiving? Are they so lost in the sex that really it doesn't matter to them? Or am I better than I thought? (checking my ego now, thank you)

In my recent release, Fettered Love, I describe a particular painting hanging in a particular museum. After the story got published I realized that I had described the positioning of a woman in the painting incorrectly. I know this is the tiniest detail and unless you were familiar with the piece of art or went to search for the image then it would never be noticed. But it bothered me. Will I get mail on it? And will some scientifically minded reader of Bound Odyssey message me to debate how I've portrayed the fall-out of polar ice cap melt and the science behind the hypothetical demise of the earth? Did I get a detail about Las Vegas wrong in Magician's Chains? I'd been there exactly once and relied on maps and tourist guides to describe the location of my scenes and some of the major attractions at the big casinos.

Now that I've shared my vulnerability, please take pity. Even though my characters are not always human, I sure am.

So what about your experiences? If you're a reader, have you ever written an erotic romance author to comment on a mistake? If you're an author, have you ever received emails like this? Or does the distraction of sex go a long way toward forgiveness? What's the worst mistake you've made that you only discovered post release day? Details if you dare.


Cara McKenna said...

I haven't received any kindly e-mails pointing out my mistakes, aside from the random typo…those I appreciate! I hate typos. I've realized I made a few logistical errors myself, once a book was already published. One of my characters has an accidentally migrating tattoo, but I've yet to get called on it. In another book I had a minor screw-up where a door that had just been pulled open magically became one that had been pushed in. If I've sinned worse than that, my readers have yet to inform me.

I'm far more interested when I hear about the mistakes I chose to make as a writer—the mistake of how I decided to end more than one book, and just about everything I let Robin get away with in Ruin Me.

Wynter Daniels said...

Luckily, I haven't gotten any such emails either! My Carina Press line editor caught a continuity mistake that I would have surely gotten letters about had it slipped through. Thank God for editors!
I've caught minor errors in published books, but would never write the author, particularly when they couldn't do anything about it at that point.

Terry Odell said...

I don't write erotica, but I like to get details right. However, as an author, I refrain from pointing them out once a book is published (my crit partners know I pick at everything while the book is in the MS stage), because I'm sure I've made many mistakes of my own. Recently I read a book where the hero was teaching the heroine to drive, and he had a stick shift. He told her the clutch was the middle pedal. Not in any car I've ever seen. I can only assume that either that model is the exception (which would be crazy) or the editor had never driven a stick, either.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Delicious Romance From Cerise DeLand said...

Readers are the most important people and creating verisimilitude demands accuracy. True, much is feigned or glossed over, but when in doubt and you need a fact to establish a setting or a character's expertise, etc., it better be accurate. Readers notice. IMHO
They are literate, and educated and delight in things well done.
While it is not necessary to paint a scene (as my husband says) to tell us All About the Draperies, a well-placed fact which is one, is ever so useful.
Otherwise, why put it in?

Michelle Polaris said...

Thank you Cara, Wynter, Terry and Cerise. I value getting it right both for myself and the reader. We do choose particular facts to spice up a story, and we should always try to get them right if we want our scenes to do their job. This is a team effort if we include both our critique partners and our editors. But maybe our fans are part of the team too, silently cheering their way through our books and perhaps letting one or two things slide if they have grown to love us. Thank the universe for this entire team.

Naima Simone said...

Hey, Michelle!
I think the worse mistake I've noticed post release date is a couple of typos that I smacked myself on the forehead about. I did receive a review on it (Desire in the Dark, Free Read) and it was mentioned. Fortunately, the reviewer said, in spite of a couple of typos, she still enjoyed it.

I will tell you an embarrassing moment for me during edits, though. Thank God my editor caught this before it was released. I kept calling my hero's fellas "sacs". After a couple of corrections, she just finally broke it down to me that there is one sac and two balls...I know she was wondering, isn't this chick married?? Yeah, sex education. Sooo, of course, I had to drag the hubby over and check the facts. Yup, she was right. *snicker*

Michelle Polaris said...

Well the hubbies are good for something. So brave to admit your error. But people make all sorts of strange mistakes like that all the time. Even highly intelligent ones like you. And look at the excuse you got to cop a feel of your husband. (grin)

KC Burn said...

Well, I've never emailed anyone about mistakes, although I've seen several that bugged me, especially incorrect word choice or ones that should have been picked up by a simple spell check.

Probably the worst was a book where a major secondary character (who had his own previous story) had FOUR different spellings of his last name. Two, I can understand (I remember waffling between Meghan and Megan... although I did a find & replace to catch it once I decided), but seriously... FOUR?

The second worst was the substitution of semaphore for semantics. Twice. Maybe that was an autocorrect, though. ;)

Dalton Diaz said...

My 2 worst ones were in books that have yet to be pubbed. Hmm, wonder why? In one, I had my heroine kissing her way north. Um, the hero was standing and she was going for what was below the bellybutton. 'Course, we all know I'm directionally challenged, but I'm still calling it a typo.
In the other, the hero/heroine each had 1/2 a necklace medallion. They split up, he throws his in the Charles River. Problem is, he now lives in San Francisco. Come to think of it, that's geography, too. Damn, I'm sensing a pattern here...