All Because of Chickens

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ask the Author

Welcome to our new feature, ASK THE AUTHOR, where readers ask the questions and MuseItYoung and MuseItYA authors answer!

For our inaugural post, reader Brandee Hack posed a downright difficult question! Brandee wants to know:

  • What is the most egregious error you have committed whilst in the process of writing your book/work and how did it effect you?

Wow, Brandee, that is a tough one. Thanks so much for posing the question.

Muse authors, you're on! Post your answers in the comments and readers, feel free to join in the conversation!

Readers, be sure to keep your eyes on our MuseItUp Facebook page for our next call out for questions! If your question is chosen, you'll get the credit and you'll get your answers!


  1. Brandee, While I was writing my upcoming Muse title, Beware of the White, I would get so entrenched in the story I forgot to watch the clock. Our house was set far back from the road so I never heard the school bus honk when it was trying to drop my Kindergartener off. I can't tell you how many times the bus barn had to call me to tell me to go outside and get my son! I finally set an alarm. Poor bus driver. I don't think it impacted me as much as my son who might have slight abandonment issues (wink).

  2. Hey, Brandee!

    Hmm. For me it was letting someone read a novel draft too early. The project wasn't ready for harsh scrutiny, which it got. I haven't become unblocked on that work-in-progress yet, and its Word doc still mocks me.

  3. Hello, Brandee!!

    I'm not much of a planner, so I "write by the seat of my pants," which can occasionally lead to tricky errors in logic (says the girl who is married to someone nicknamed "Spock" in high school). In the culminating scene of my novel, The Prophecy (to be released in November 2013), I had my characters entering and exiting the situation from impossible places--unless they could walk through walls (which would be really cool, but they aren't X-Men). Thankfully, my friend and at home editor (read all about her on my blog) realized my error. After drawing many excruciatingly detailed drawings (remember--I'm not a planner, AND I'm ADD--talk about a *shock* to my system), I rewrote the scene so it made sense.

    Great question!! Thanks for participating!! :)


  4. I think probably forgetting names of characters! I usually leave a blank like this for them: ____ and go back to fix it later. But sometimes, I forget I've forgotten and call them something completely different! It happens sometimes because I'm writing a book over several months. When I read it through or edit, it's easy to find these errors and fix them. :)

  5. Hi, Brandee.

    One time, rushing to meet a magazine's deadline, I sent my submission without proofreading the email. Later that night it struck me to read it, so I pulled it out of my sent mail, read it over, and everything was fine . . . except I misspelled the editor's name. This is one of the first rules you will find in any manual on writing to NEVER break. Luckily it was an editor I had worked with before. She never mentioned it to me, and I was far too embarrassed to mention it to her.

    Now I always triple check the editor's name.


  6. Hi, Brandee!

    I'm a panster who knows where the story starts and where it ends, so I'd have to say the most egregious error I've made is not listening to my characters. I'll get a path for my story locked in my mind and write and write, then everything comes to a screeching halt.

    Usually, after talking with my CP's (critique partners) or family and friends, I realize I've made a character do something they never would do. Once I know that, I backtrack and the story gets back on track.

    Always listen to your characters. They usually know the story better than you think you do!


  7. Hi Brandee,

    Great question! The most egregious error I made was sharing my draft of WEAVING MAGIC before I knew the direction of the story. Feedback is really important in writing, but there is a period of writing in which the writer is exploring where the story wants to go. When I first began writing, I showed my drafts to critique partners and everyone had an idea of what should happen. This really confused the story for a long time. Now, when I write, I outline and draft a story before I show it to critique partners. Then, when people give me suggestions I can weigh them against the vision I'm holding for the story.

    Thanks so much for your question!

    Mindy Hardwick

  8. I've thought and thought about this -- but I made so many mistakes when I started out it's hard to pick out just one. I spent a couple of years after I wrote my first book ( a chapter book) learning and revising it before it reached a publishable state.

    I was lucky that my reading partners convinced not to submit the !! thing during those couple of years.

  9. Hi Brandee,
    Thanks for your question. My error wasn’t reprehensible but was bad enough to stall 'The Unhewn Stone', for four years. It came from my own ignorance. I had set my hero on a country farm in Central Switzerland, which he loved. (I was a farmer at the time in Australia so thought I could handle that setting.) By chapter eight my novel about the boy who tried to prevent the legend of Wilhelm Tell from happening, had stalled. I still wanted to tell my hero’s story but realized I needed to visit the Swiss location to get it right.

    So, four years later, with my husband and 14 year old granddaughter, I went to Bürglen, William Tell’s birthplace, and Altdorf and Lake Luzern, and stayed there to soak up the atmosphere, imagining the life my young farmer might lead. But there weren’t that many farms on the sides of the gigantic mountains or in the narrow valleys. This was mainly a tourist area with many hotels and guesthouses.

    My granddaughter put me on the right track. She didn’t like the high mountains and the possibility of avalanches. They had a claustrophobic effect on her. She was happy when we left.

    So, my hero, Stefan, became an innkeeper’s son who couldn’t wait to leave this place. He longed to travel like the tourists who visited his family guesthouse. The novel took off again. Stefan does travel…by way of a magic orb, but it’s time travel back to 1307, to the exact spot he wanted to leave. He becomes a tourist all right, but he is trapped inside the Wilhelm Tell Legend which he tried to prevent… oh boy, do I make him pay. Hehe.

    That’s what 'The Unhewn Stone' is all about and wouldn't exist if i hadn't travelled to Switzerland and responded to my granddaughter's reaction..


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