Tuesday, January 12, 2010


One of the reasons my postings have been so sporadic lately is because when I start reading a book, I tend to do nothing else until I'm done. I've got this crazy notion in my head that I have to hurry up and finish it so that I can get on with my life, but what ends up happening is I ignore everything else while I'm trying to finish the book. Crazy, huh? And to add to that, the book I first started reading was the beginning of a series, so of course I have to finish the series first before anything else gets done! The good news is that I'm almost done. Only one and a half books to go.

But while reading these books, I've made a few observations. One of them is that whether on purpose or on accident, even the best authors have contradictions in their works. The books I'm reading happen to be a part of Orson Scott Card's Ender series, and the relay of information between one book and another is wrong! Just plain wrong! The particular contradiction I am thinking of concerns a character named Plikt. In book two, she was introduced to us as a rather stubborn student of Ender's who would not stop until she discovered everything about him. Well, after much research, she was able to discern half of who he was, but was completely wrong about the other half. At which point she was practically given a verbal beat-down by Ender's sister. This was a rather funny and exciting part because you spent the entirety of the book up until this point waiting for just this thing to happen. Well, when we get to book three where Card is reintroducing Plikt to anyone who may not have read any of the previous books, he describes her as having discovered (quite on her own) both mysterious parts of Ender Wiggin! Wrong!

As this series happens to be a reprint where Card was able to make any changes he feel needed to be made, I can only assume that 1. he didn't care about the contradiction and wanted it in there or 2. he just plain missed it, again. While option number one just plain irks me (I hate contradictions), option number two kind of worries me. It would imply that Card (and his editor) read these books thousands of times and never picked up on it. Never. And here I am, reading it for the first time and it becomes a glaring problem for me, not because Card isn't a good writer (he did win the Hugo Award), but because he took back a pivotal moment from one book and weakened the intensity of the relationship between Plikt and Ender's sister in another. And also, he turned Plikt into a different person through this one contradiction.

Again, my point is not to dis Card (in fact, I'll give a more detailed review when I finish the series), but to show my concern for my own work. Will I make such an innocent mistake in Aurumenas, thereby ruining a character for one of my readers? This is a concern. I can only hope that should my book be published someday, the collective minds of myself, my agent, and my editor will be able to find and snuff out any such irregularities.

How about you, readers? Anything in particular that you worry about with your own work? Or are there any things like contradictions that really irk you when you read a book?

~Emily White


  1. Oooh, just the sort of thing that makes me crazy! It totally takes me out of the world of the book, and plops me right back into reality, because all I can think about is that mistake... grrr.

  2. Yes! Part of me wonders how it could even have been missed. This was no minor contradiction, it was huge! *shakes head*

    Thanks for the reply, Ann. And welcome! :)


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