Have you ever read a book that contained a main character whose name changed part way through?
Well, if you havenâ€™t and youâ€™re a big reader thereâ€™s a chance youâ€™ll still come upon this
phenomenon. Other things too, eye color, hair length, etc. Itâ€™s one of the bizarre things that
happens when youâ€™re writing a story. A detail will change on its own â€“ yes, on its own. Wait. The
writer is in control, isnâ€™t she? Thereâ€™s typically only one person at the keyboard when the
characters and chapters are being born, so it must be the authorâ€™s fault, right? Or what about
the editorâ€™s fault? Shouldnâ€™t we blame them? A character made up of only words on a screen canâ€™t
possibly have a shape shifting superpower that blinds everyone to its changes.
Well, thatâ€™s technically correct, however . . .
That thing that takes over and makes the changes isnâ€™t any sort of fantastical creature, but
thereâ€™s something mystical â€“ or at least mystifying â€“ about the spontaneous evolutions, and
sometimes it feels like magic is at work.
Characters change. Maybe thereâ€™s a revelation, or a turning point, and suddenly they become
different. However solid they might have been in the writerâ€™s mind, something in the story or
setting changes them so profoundly that thereâ€™s no going back to seeing them how they used to be.
Itâ€™s a vague explanation but thatâ€™s why writers miss the difference. Even though they go back and
edit the book again and again, thereâ€™s no way for them to see the person or the detail they
created any other way than the most recent way they exist â€“ their true from, in the writerâ€™s
mind. Thatâ€™s what happens to some editors too â€“ they get in the middle of the transforming moment
and they canâ€™t go back either.
So, why doesnâ€™t that happen with readers? Why can reader catch even the smallest differences when
all the previous read-throughs didnâ€™t? I think itâ€™s a couple things. One, readers are smart. Itâ€™s
a pretty general statement, but I happen to believe that if you read youâ€™re smart. Not saying
non-readers arenâ€™t smart, but just a being a reader is one of those indicators that is pretty
reliable most of the time.
The other reason is because readers are reading with fresh and eager eyes that donâ€™t want to be
critical; they just want to enjoy. Itâ€™s always interesting what you discover when you arenâ€™t
And, of course most editors do catch these errors, but even the best of the best arenâ€™t perfect.
So far, Iâ€™ve yet to have one of these blunders published in my books, but thatâ€™s only because the
problem was caught before it got too far. Iâ€™m up to five catches, or maybe we should call them
interceptions. That tallies up to five gigantic â€˜thank-yousâ€™ to editors and five moments of â€˜oh,
that would have been bad.â€™
But, mostly, itâ€™s five exuberant and relieved â€˜phews.â€™
Thanks for letting me stop by today. See you in the bookstores.
Paige Shelton was born in Nevada, Missouri, but wasnâ€™t there long.
After a childhood full of many moves, and high school and college in Des Moines, Iowa, she landed
in Salt Lake City, Utah. There she met and married her husband, had a son, and worked at a
variety of advertising-like jobs. She canâ€™t remember a time when she didnâ€™t want to be a writer
and loves every moment she spends with her characters and their mysterious ways.
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The New York Times bestselling author of MERRY MARKET MURDER returns to Baileyâ€™s Farmersâ€™
Market where Becca Robins must get her cousin out of a jamâ€¦
This summer, Becca is looking forward to selling her delicious jams and preserves, but things are
changing fast at the farmersâ€™ market. A fleet of food trucks has arrived for a two week visit,
peddling cupcakes, tacos, chicken wings, and moreâ€”including a gourmet hot dog truck operated by
Beccaâ€™s own cousin, Peyton.
Tensions between truck operators and market vendors over their required licenses reach a
crescendo when the townâ€™s business manager is murdered. With Peyton already under suspicion of
stealing money and a secret recipe from the restaurant where she worked in Arizona, the cops
start grilling her as their prime suspect. Now itâ€™s up to Becca to clear her cousin and find out
who at the market gave themselves a license to killâ€¦
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