Corrections and anxiety.

Freesia.Cutepearl

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How does it make you feel, and how you handle it, when you realized you goofed and need to make a correction?
I've had to do this several times, one just now where I failed to account for time properly.

They've all been mostly small, though it mortifies me thinking some people read my newest chapter with the timing off by a day. It's only not even been an hour as of this post since it went live though because I'm somewhat obsessive compulsive and can't just post and let it go.

I've re-read it like 6 times already, twice before posting. I've also reread past chapters to make sure things fit ok and ended up finding and correcting things in them that just cause a cascade of anxiety of all the changes and all the people who read the 'broken' versions.

I'm just wondering how other authors here deal with this sort of thing?
 

Stratothrax

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I misunderstood the scheduler and set a chapter for 12:20 AM thinking it would release at lunch time. It did not, it released in the middle of the night while I was asleep, and what was worse I had scheduled a chapter for 9am so the chapter that was released was one ahead. The missing chapter was a plot chapter too so it made no sense. :blob_cringe:


Feels bad man, but there's not much to be done except correct a mistake and trust that readers are intelligent and understanding of the fact that authors are only human.
 

Moonpearl

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Instant head bang on desk.

I remember making some really bad typos in "The Heart is a Sea", like writing
"She feel worse"
instead of
"She felt worse"
and it transformed that whole sentence into some really creepy baby talk.

That said, I just accept that typos are part and partial of writing, and I eventually stop reading to look for them. Readers won't mind a couple of goofs, so I refuse to be kept up at night by it.

(Pro tip: To catch as many of those as you can before posting, change the font and size and then reread. It forces your brain to treat it as almost brand new, so it won't trick you into seeing what you want to see quite as often. Printing it off and/or reading aloud helps too.)
 
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UYScuti

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I don’t think it’s possible to post a chapter without some form of error. Grammatical errors, structural errors, word choices, or consistency errors—every chapter will have something the author can improve or correct. I’ve just accepted that to be true. If someone points to a grammar issue, I correct it. If it’s the others, then I look to how I can improve going forward.

You’ll burn yourself out or become discouraged and stop writing if you panic over errors. We’re not professionals; we don’t have a team of editors. Mistakes happen. Catch as many as you can, but don’t drive yourself into a panic attack
 

ConTroll

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Instant head bang on desk.

I remember making some really bad typos on "The Heart is a Sea", like writing
"She feel worse"
instead of
"She felt worse"
and it transformed that whole sentence into some really creepy baby talk.

That said, I just accept that typos are part and partial of writing, and I eventually stop reading to look for them. Readers won't mind a couple of goofs, so I refuse to be kept up at night by it.

(Pro tip: To catch as many of those as you can before posting, change the font and size and then reread. It forces your brain to treat it as almost brand new, so it won't trick you into seeing what you want to see quite as often. Printing it off and/or reading aloud helps too.)
Others have suggested this on the forums, so I'll give you a good tip: use the Grammarly site / chrome extension. The advantage of the extension is that it works on scribblehub, and will automatically underline problem areas.

It is a great tool. However, just like the spell-check function on most writing platforms / programs, use it as a tool for learning.

For content edits (flow, plot, direction), I like to read my finalized drafts on the medium I use to reading novels (if possible). In my case, my phone.

How does it make you feel, and how you handle it, when you realized you goofed and need to make a correction?
I've had to do this several times, one just now where I failed to account for time properly.

They've all been mostly small, though it mortifies me thinking some people read my newest chapter with the timing off by a day. It's only not even been an hour as of this post since it went live though because I'm somewhat obsessive compulsive and can't just post and let it go.

I've re-read it like 6 times already, twice before posting. I've also reread past chapters to make sure things fit ok and ended up finding and correcting things in them that just cause a cascade of anxiety of all the changes and all the people who read the 'broken' versions.

I'm just wondering how other authors here deal with this sort of thing?
I avoid this by having a decent backlog of chapters. Right now I am 14 chapters ahead of what I have published, 9 of which have been finalized and scheduled for release.

I've also come to accept that once a chapter has been scheduled, it's done. Meaning, no more edits.

If your release schedule is what's causing the undue stress, then change it. If one week is too short , release every two weeks and build a substantial backlog of chapters.
 

Freesia.Cutepearl

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I appreciate the input.

I'm definitely having a hard time trying to balance everything.

I want to write more story.

But I also want to edit it to be 'decent', at least for myself.

And I worry about things I've missed and go back and re-read things.

Sometimes I may have only meant to reference something, end up rereading the entire scene or even chapter, and find myself making small edits.

I have a problem with burnout so thank you for mentioning it because I was not even thinking about it.
 

Freesia.Cutepearl

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You posted while I was posting. :sweat_smile:
I avoid this by having a decent backlog of chapters. Right now I am 14 chapters ahead of what I have published, 9 of which have been finalized and scheduled for release.

I've also come to accept that once a chapter has been scheduled, it's done. Meaning, no more edits.

If your release schedule is what's causing the undue stress, then change it. If one week is too short , release every two weeks and build a substantial backlog of chapters.
I wanted to do that but I swear I am having so much trouble sitting on a chapter. Maybe it'll get better with time. This is also my first attempt so maybe that is also part of my restlessness? The need for feedback sooner.
 

Moonpearl

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Others have suggested this on the forums, so I'll give you a good tip: use the Grammarly site / chrome extension. The advantage of the extension is that it works on scribblehub, and will automatically underline problem areas.

It is a great tool. However, just like the spell-check function on most writing platforms / programs, use it as a tool for learning.

For content edits (flow, plot, direction), I like to read my finalized drafts on the medium I use to reading novels (if possible). In my case, my phone.
Thanks, but I hate Grammarly. I have a pretty good grasp of grammar and spelling because I was an English nerd growing up, so it's just little mistakes that I miss here and there.

My spell checker should really catch it for me, but sometimes it bugs out, I guess.

I appreciate the input.

I'm definitely having a hard time trying to balance everything.

I want to write more story.

But I also want to edit it to be 'decent', at least for myself.

And I worry about things I've missed and go back and re-read things.

Sometimes I may have only meant to reference something, end up rereading the entire scene or even chapter, and find myself making small edits.

I have a problem with burnout so thank you for mentioning it because I was not even thinking about it.
Maybe imposing a quota might help? Like saying you'll spend X amount of time writing, and then X amount of time editing?
 

ConTroll

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You posted while I was posting. :sweat_smile:


I wanted to do that but I swear I am having so much trouble sitting on a chapter. Maybe it'll get better with time. This is also my first attempt so maybe that is also part of my restlessness? The need for feedback sooner.
Feedback will come in time. Unfortunately, anything substantial won't arrive until you've published a decent amount of work (10-15 or more chapters) unless there are obvious changes that need to be made.

As for chapter issues, building from a basic outline helped me in terms of the direction I wanted the chapter to go.

Restlessness is natural.
 

Freesia.Cutepearl

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Maybe imposing a quota might help? Like saying you'll spend X amount of time writing, and then X amount of time editing?
That sounds like something worth exploring. Maybe, 30 minutes or so editing for every hour or two writing? I'll have to experiment with that.

On the note about grammar, I'm only using google docs and find it mostly sufficient. I'm a native English speaker, but I'm not used to formally writing so I am struggling some with phrasing and handling Narration, Thoughts, and Dialog transitions, formatting, and punctuation. I plan to try some different styles to see what feels comfortable.
 

yansusustories

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When I just started out, I was really anxious about this type of thing. In fact, not just about actual mistakes I made but just about the thought of maybe making one. Every time I clicked publish somewhere, I'd be a mess for several hours. With time, it got better though and by now, I'm actually able to shrug it off even if an actual mistake happens.
The only mistakes that still get to me are the big ones. Like, I once wrote down the wrong name when I published something. As in, I wrote my own fucking name wrong. How embarrassing is that? :blob_sweat: Anyway, I only realized when it was already public. That had me panic completely because it's just such a big fuck-up and what will people think when they see? :blob_no: In the end, nobody saw but the hours until the wrong name was swapped out for the right one were nerve-wracking for me.
If it's stuff in a story itself, I'll just own up to the mistakes, give a heads-up to my readers in a note, explain the issue, and then go to correct it if that's the only way or work around it in the future chapters if I can. E.g., I once missed putting in one character that I would have needed down the road. I told people about it and then just went a different way with how things went in the later chapters. Just magicking a person in there in the previous chapters would have seemed strange to me even though my readers likely wouldn't have minded since not all of the characters had the same amount of screentime anyway.

Edit (cause I forgot): I think one of the things that tremendously helped me with getting over this anxiety other than just taking time was switching to writing in another language. With my native language, I always had that feeling that I had to get every small thing right because, well, I should know that language well enough, right? When writing in another language, I knew that I would likely never be able to be as good as a native speaker so I allowed myself to make mistakes (lots of them in the beginning, actually).
So I think that just allowing for mistakes and remembering that nobody's perfect is a big step in the right direction. Personally, I couldn't have easily done that on my own but with the right circumstances, it worked. It's also worth remembering that on pages like SH, your readers will often not be native speakers (either) so they're sometimes unlikely to even see mistakes in terms of typos or grammar. For me, that knowledge takes a bit of the edge away as well.
 
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IvyVeritas

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I do four drafts before posting to Patreon or here. I've got a pretty good understanding of English grammar, so that's enough to catch most things. Draft 2 is where I fix awkward wording, and remove things that seemed important to point out while I was writing, but don't end up adding anything to the story. Drafts 3 and 4 are for tightening and polishing the language. Occasionally a typo will slip through, but not too often.

I don't use Grammarly. For me, it makes far more mistakes than it catches. It's not a good use of my time. I do have a volunteer reader who looks for typos, so that's nice.

After a book is fully written, I do three more drafts of the book as a whole, to look for consistency issues across the book and the whole series. So far, I've only caught three, and they've been very minor. No readers have ever noticed them, and I cleaned them up for the ebook release. (One was important enough that I fixed it for the version posted here, too.) I also use these three drafts (Drafts 5, 6, and 7) to further clean up and polish the wording. It's been longer since I've seen the chapters by this point, so it's like looking at them with fresh eyes.

That's about all you can do unless you can afford a professional editor or proofreader.

I'd say don't worry about it too much. If you're as careful with it as you say, there can't be that many problems left over at the end of your process, and your readers will forgive you for the ones that are left.
 

Freesia.Cutepearl

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I do four drafts before posting to Patreon or here. I've got a pretty good understanding of English grammar, so that's enough to catch most things. Draft 2 is where I fix awkward wording, and remove things that seemed important to point out while I was writing, but don't end up adding anything to the story. Drafts 3 and 4 are for tightening and polishing the language. Occasionally a typo will slip through, but not too often.
...
I'd say don't worry about it too much. If you're as careful with it as you say, there can't be that many problems left over at the end of your process, and your readers will forgive you for the ones that are left.
Ooh that seems like a good system. On my prologue I haven't really done as much editing, partly because it's pretty emotional to read and partly because I wanted to contrast it against different styles/editing/etc. I will probably go back and change it later too once I figure things out.

I ended up spending a bit of time editing chapter one, and then during planning for chapter two I found an article with writing tips and it talked about reducing the number of times you say "I" in first person narration. I got rather focused on that and ended up spending about 3 times as long editing chapter two as I did writing it.

I cut that down a bit for chapter three, to about half the time, partially because I wrote it slower, being more conscious of it as I wrote. Over all it probably still took about twice as long at the first chapter.

I actually just got a comment on my prologue about switching between past and present tense. Something new to worry about, but I feel like it's not a good idea to try and tackle too many things at once. I'm not even really sure how big of a problem using "I" even is in first person narration, it requires a lot of rephrasing, sometimes the results feel very clunky. I rewrote one paragraph like 10 times, for example.

I can't help but wonder though, if I'm being obsessive over things that most people will never even notice, like you talked about.

When I just started out, I was really anxious about this type of thing. In fact, not just about actual mistakes I made but just about the thought of maybe making one. Every time I clicked publish somewhere, I'd be a mess for several hours. With time, it got better though and by now, I'm actually able to shrug it off even if an actual mistake happens.

The only mistakes that still get to me are the big ones. Like, I once wrote down the wrong name when I published something. As in, I wrote my own fucking name wrong. How embarrassing is that? :blob_sweat: Anyway, I only realized when it was already public. That had me panic completely because it's just such a big fuck-up and what will people think when they see? :blob_no: In the end, nobody saw but the hours until the wrong name was swapped out for the right one were nerve-wracking for me.
...
So I think that just allowing for mistakes and remembering that nobody's perfect is a big step in the right direction. Personally, I couldn't have easily done that on my own but with the right circumstances, it worked. It's also worth remembering that on pages like SH, your readers will often not be native speakers (either) so they're sometimes unlikely to even see mistakes in terms of typos or grammar. For me, that knowledge takes a bit of the edge away as well.
I appreciate the advice. And I can maybe imagine a little what that name thing must have felt like, it was only about an hour but I was so stressed out over messing up and leaving a day out of time. Though it felt big to me it's not nearly as big a mistake as the kind you talked about. I just wrote it had been 5 hours since she was reincarnated instead of a day and 5 hours. Stupid, minor detail, that she only remarks on in one line.

But the anxiety went through the roof when I realized I missed something so stupid, I literally wrote a chapter where a whole day passes, and somehow completely forgot(to be fair to myself it had been days since I wrote it, but still, UGH.), and didn't catch it during all my editing, and only realized it when I was looking over it about 30 minutes after publishing. I saw the time and was like, 'wait, is that right?' followed by being mortified to realize it was not.

Thanks for the feedback everyone. Hearing your own stories helps a lot, knowing I'm not alone and hearing how everyone thinks about it helps bring balance to the OCD screaming at me inside my head. :blob_dizzy:
 

LordAstrea

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I freak out and fix it. Much of what everyone else said. Hopefully the readers understand. Hasn't happened here yet, but did on RR.
To lower the chances of it happening I go through a step by step editing process and even reread the previous chapter for strict consistency. It takes time reading previous chapters, but it pays off for my mindset.
 

Temple

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Ooh that seems like a good system. On my prologue I haven't really done as much editing, partly because it's pretty emotional to read and partly because I wanted to contrast it against different styles/editing/etc. I will probably go back and change it later too once I figure things out.

I ended up spending a bit of time editing chapter one, and then during planning for chapter two I found an article with writing tips and it talked about reducing the number of times you say "I" in first person narration. I got rather focused on that and ended up spending about 3 times as long editing chapter two as I did writing it.

I cut that down a bit for chapter three, to about half the time, partially because I wrote it slower, being more conscious of it as I wrote. Over all it probably still took about twice as long at the first chapter.

I actually just got a comment on my prologue about switching between past and present tense. Something new to worry about, but I feel like it's not a good idea to try and tackle too many things at once. I'm not even really sure how big of a problem using "I" even is in first person narration, it requires a lot of rephrasing, sometimes the results feel very clunky. I rewrote one paragraph like 10 times, for example.

I can't help but wonder though, if I'm being obsessive over things that most people will never even notice, like you talked about.



I appreciate the advice. And I can maybe imagine a little what that name thing must have felt like, it was only about an hour but I was so stressed out over messing up and leaving a day out of time. Though it felt big to me it's not nearly as big a mistake as the kind you talked about. I just wrote it had been 5 hours since she was reincarnated instead of a day and 5 hours. Stupid, minor detail, that she only remarks on in one line.

But the anxiety went through the roof when I realized I missed something so stupid, I literally wrote a chapter where a whole day passes, and somehow completely forgot(to be fair to myself it had been days since I wrote it, but still, UGH.), and didn't catch it during all my editing, and only realized it when I was looking over it about 30 minutes after publishing. I saw the time and was like, 'wait, is that right?' followed by being mortified to realize it was not.

Thanks for the feedback everyone. Hearing your own stories helps a lot, knowing I'm not alone and hearing how everyone thinks about it helps bring balance to the OCD screaming at me inside my head. :blob_dizzy:
Past and present tense, pronouns, sentence structures. All that stuff you'll eventually learn to make your writing more beautiful. It will take time, especially at the start, but as months of writing go by you'll become better and evolve your own style. When you go back to your earlier chapter after a few months of writing you'll notice the difference. Anyway, as you learn how to write it will become faster.
 

LostLibrarian

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I'm glad I saw it so I can correct it for future readers and leave a small note for readers who already read it.

Most people throw their first or second draft out here, a lot also publish as they write and not after the story is finished. So errors are normal. It's normal for published authors to go back and rewrite parts of their story after they finished the first draft. Based on the author and editor there are writers who go through 10+ drafts before a book is even anywhere near a publishing discussion. And some of the biggest authors in the world, selling millions of copies for their books, and with a gigantic editorial company behind them still print books with smaller errors.


So if people who make millions of dollars in writing aren't capable of writing a "perfect" first draft, why should I take this as benchmark for me? That's an awful idea.

I try to do my best for each chapter and each arc of my story. And sometimes I later read the chapter again and realize that important things are missing. So I change it to avoid plotholes and asspulls in the future.


I don't think I'm a good writer, let alone a perfect one.
So no need to get depressed about errors. In the end, I publish my stuff online so that I can better myself...
 
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