Monday, June 6, 2011

The Devil is in the Details

The trickiest part about HIS GOOD OPINION is getting all the details right. I'm not concerned about the major plot arc--I've read Pride and Prejudice enough times to be comfortable with the story line. It's the little niggling things, like... Was Darcy in the room when that happened, or had he already retired for the night? Could he have seen the expression on her face, or was he looking away?

And, did the Netherfield Ball take place on Tuesday or Thursday?

The answer to that question, dear readers, is Tuesday. However, thanks to the comment in Pride and Prejudice that nothing but a ball on Tuesday could have made the days from Thursday tolerable, I got the days switched around in my head.

Is this a big deal? Not really. It did mean going in and changing all the references to days that followed, and there happened to be a lot of them in that chapter. However, my mistake didn't dramatically affect plot or character--this time.

You may roll your eyes and chuckle about my obsession with details but what if it had been important? What if I'd put Mr. Darcy in the wrong place at the wrong time, or what if I'd forgotten who was in the room or who said what? One small error can snowball into something that takes ages to work out, or even worse, into a huge pile of inaccuracies that never get caught.

I have read fanfiction (published and online) that makes that kind of error, and it loses all credibility when I catch it. I'm determined not to be one of those authors, so I'm obsessing over little things like days of the week. It makes me a little crazy, but at least readers will be able to trust my story.