Things that bug me number 1:

In no particular order other than when they pop into my head, I start my new blog series “Things that bug me”:


Authors/screenplay writers who totally mess up the chronology of their cultural references. At the risk of sounding like that person at the (say) Star Trek Convention who uses their time at the mike during a Q&A session to point out a flaw in the show’s application of some law of physics or a conflict in the back-story, I have to complain a bit about this.

So I buy (or checkout) a book with one of those attention grabbing spines/covers with the equally attention grabbing title. I have read the blurb on the back, and usually I am pretty excited about getting into the book. I think of this period in my relationship with a book sort of like that period in dating after you’ve set a time to meet for the first date, but before the actual date has rolled around. The first date happens when you actually crack open the book. If it’s not a library book (and honestly I sometimes risk it with library books as well), I usually smell the book. Yum. Whether it’s the inky smell of new books or the dusty musty smell of old ones, I love them all. And yes, my husband does get jealous of my relationship to reading.

So sometime in the first few chapters, and it always seems to happen early on, I will notice a big flaw in referred chronology, usually in reference to something in pop culture. For instance, a flashback meant to be set in 1972 might have Charlie’s Angels blaring on the television in the background. Or the book will be set in 1962 and the protagonist will own a Mustang.

I will try so hard to forget about the error, but it will sort of creep into my thinking as I read. It makes everything the author says a lot less believable to me. Soon, I will associate that book with the mistake. Do authors not think to double check a reference? What about editors?

Maybe this is why I have such problems actually finishing a book I start to write. I am too anal about things that maybe no one else cares about.


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January 2010
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