Has this ever happened to you?

You spend weeks, months, years, writing a short story or novel. It’s looking pretty good. You like the characters and plot. It flows. You think it will sell, but first it needs editing.

You workshop your novel, taking it through edit after edit, and critique after critique. You spend another week, month, year, perfecting your masterpiece until finally, it’s ready.

You craft a query letter and send them out to a few agents. Then, hope beyond all hopes, you get requests for material! This is great, but you aren’t fooled. You take your time to read over your manuscript and make some final changes before sending it out into the world.

Phew! What a journey it has been. But now you can finally relax a little, and maybe work on something new. But, wait. You’re anxious about this manuscript being read by an agent. Will they like it? Will they offer representation, or send you a form rejection? With these thoughts burning through your head, you decide to read over your manuscript again.

What’s this? A mistake!? But how??? You edited it so many times! How can this be!?

Has this ever happened to you? Because it has happened to me.

A few days ago I decided to peruse my novel. Call it masochism, call it idiocy, call it whatever you want. But I did it. And you you know what? I found a mistake that recurs throughout the novel, from beginning to end, that somehow through dozens of edits, critiques, and polishing, I never caught.

One of my characters can see auras. In fact, she makes a living doing readings of people’s auras. She’s an “aura reader.” At some point during the writing, I started calling her an “aural reader,” saying that she did “aural readings,” and talking about “aural trails.”

I don’t know when or why the switch occurred, but it did. And somehow, the problem never occurred to me. Until now.

Aural: of or relating to the ear or to the sense of hearing.

Aura: a distinctive atmosphere surrounding a given source

What does it mean? It means that there’s an agent reading my manuscript wondering what it means that this character can do readings “of or relating to the ear or to the sense of hearing.” And what that has to do with auras.

Not good my friends. Not good.