notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Can’t Hardly Wait

In April of 1966, I was fifteen and a freshman in high school.

There was some kind of evening event – a Spring Concert I think, although I now cannot remember. But back then, it was oh-so-important.

And for some reason (or perhaps no reason at all) I wanted a trenchcoat to wear to this event. Now April and raincoats go together. But I had a raincoat. I wanted a trenchcoat. One of those secret agent man type of coats. Beige, double-breasted, belted.

I wanted a trenchcoat like I had never wanted anything more in my life. (Except for a boyfriend. I wanted a boyfriend more.)

The day of the event, I was still pleading with my Mom to let me get a coat. My navy blue raincoat would not do. My yellow slicker would not do. I needed a beige trenchcoat.

And she finally gave in.

We went to Robert Hall, a clothes store that mainly catered to men, but had a decent women’s department. Well, decent if you were desperate and your mother wouldn’t take you anywhere else.

And I found a trenchcoat. And I bought it.

And it was not what I wanted. It had big cheap plastic buttons, and a too-wide belt, and a huge oversized collar that would not lay flat. And it wasn’t even the right color beige. It was sort of off-white. Off-white is not beige.

But I bought it.

Because I had to have a trenchcoat and I had to have it immediately.

I saw later – much later – maybe 20 years or so later – how foolish it was. To settle for something that was shoddy because I couldn’t wait.

Let me be honest.

It did not take me 20 years to see my mistake.

It took 51.

Because I just did it again.

And with something way more important than a trenchcoat.

My novel.

Over the last year, I wrote LUCINDA’S SOLUTION, a novel set in the early 20th century about the changing mores and the changing role of women in society.

And I knew that it was good. It was really good.

And I couldn’t wait to get it out there. See my book in my hand. Give it to everyone. Have it read. That’s why writers write. For readers to read.

I sent it off to my formatter, and she turned it around very quickly. And I proofed it very quickly, and published it. Very quickly.

And my gorgeous, excellent, important novel – that I love so much – is:

A Mess.

There are typos everywhere. The punctuation is worse than awful – missing quotations marks and quotation marks looking in the wrong direction everywhere. Commas instead of periods. Crazy spacing. And worst of all, through some formatting error, the paperback version is missing two very sweet scenes – scenes that are referenced later in the story.

I screwed up my baby.

Haste makes Waste, my Grandma used to say.

And I’m mortified. And I’m sorry to anyone who read my book in such an awful state. It’s a great story and well told. But it looks awful.

Why didn’t I take my time and do it right?

Why did I buy a cheap trenchcoat?

Because, as Grandma also used to say, I can’t hardly wait.

Yes, my formatter made a serious error and deleted scenes in the paperback. And yes, it turns out that my word processing software has a glitch in punctuation, and just uses open or closed quotes in sort of a random pick-a-card kind of fashion. But neither one of those things is to blame.

I am to blame.

I put out a book I am proud of in a way I am not proud of.

But I can fix it.

No one died (except my pride).

It’s fixable and I’m doing it right now. I’m getting it right. Using better software. Reading and re-reading. Not reading what I expect to see on the page. READING. And with a great giant font that lets me see which way those goddamn quotes are facing.

Impatience is not a virtue. Except maybe when you are impatient for Justice or Kindness in the world.

If you are doing something wonderful, take your time. Make it right. Nothing and no one is perfect, but make it as good as it can be.

Self-imposed deadlines are destructive.

Wait for the beautiful trenchcoat – the one that will last forever and never goes out of style.

And if you have made a dreadful mistake:

Take responsibility and Fix it.

It’s worth it and you are worth it.

I’m fixing my beautiful story so that it is as impeccable as it deserves to be.

 

nancywithbooks

Me with my books – So happy before I realized my impatient mistake. But I will be happy again.

 

PS:   Please know – to anyone who may have already purchased LUCINDA’S SOLUTION: I am so sorry. I will get a replacement book – a Kindle version or a paperback version – out to you at my expense. Just email me at nancyeroman@yahoo.com.  We both deserve to know that mistakes can be corrected. And apologies can be given. And accepted. 

PPS:  The Kindle version is not missing any scenes… it just has all the annoying (but not terminal) typos.

 

 

 

45 Comments

  1. Another day, another lesson learned. You mentioned Robert Halls. . . I’m just a few years younger than you and I recall my parents taking me there shopping for clothes, about 50 years ago! Thanks for the memory.

    Like

    • In Connecticut, they have actually turned the building into part of the community college. For a long time, my father called the college, Robert Hall U.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Nancy. Can I ask what software you recommend?

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    • I used Grammarly for proofreading (this time around). It worked very well, if you copy and paste, though, you need to make a change to the text – any change – to have the proofreading kick in. (Still checking out new writing software possibilities)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aw….. I did notice the typos…. (I was never a professional proofreader: those things just seem to pop out at me!), but I didn’t notice the quotation mark issues.
    I’ve been meaning to let you know that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that story!!! I hate for you to have to send me another book, but now I’m curious about the sweet love scenes that were omitted!

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    • I would be happy to get you another book. I’ll send you a signed copy as soon as I have a good version published.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The other thing I can do… the least I can do… is to send you the missing scenes. They’re short. Just send me an email so I will have your email address.

        Like

  4. Awww… I’ve been there. Not with a book, but I’ve been there. Good for you for putting your heart out for us all to see. We’ll be waiting for Lucinda’s re-debut.

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    • Thanks. It’s been a horrible – but beneficial – learning experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You poor thing! I bought it, and haven’t gotten to it yet. How about if you just email folks the missing scene.

    I remember Robert Hall. There was one across the street from where my mother worked. The day of the 7th grade dance, I told kids I wasn’t going to the dance because I had nothing to wear. But mom came home with the prettiest blue knit dress for me to wear.

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    • I can easily send you the missing scenes… they are quite short. Just email nancyeroman@yahoo.com, and I’ll send them right away. Thanks. I’m afraid you’ll still have to put up with tons of typos, but please forgive me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Always!

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        • my email is inundated with cyber sales. did you send me your email address?

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          • I didn’t. It is fifty.four.and.a.half @ gmail.com (w/out the aces around the @. ❤️

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, rather than impatience, I suffer from a tendency to procrastinate, which in this case is good, as I haven’t gotten your books yet! Now, however, I will!!

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    • Please wait for the re-release. I’ll be thrilled to let you know!

      Like

      • Yes, please let me know! I loved your first book, and have been looking forward to reading this one.

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  7. Reading your own stuff is hard because of exactly what you said. You read what it should be not what it is. The best lessons are the ones we learn the hard way. As for Robert Hall, locally it didn’t have a good girl’s/woman’s section so we went to Sears. We thought it was cool. Yikes!

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    • Yes…. I am definitely hiring a professional proofreader the next time around. And Sears….Yikes is right!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. what a great approach to solving a problem –

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    • What else can I do? I cried and then went back to work.

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  9. I procrastinated because I have so many unread books on my kindle. And a suggestion for you. I have a couple of beta readers who pick up misrakes, typos and grammar that slip past me unnoticed. They are godsends. I also act as beta reader for several authors. Looking forward to reading the corrected book on my kindle.

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    • I had three beta readers, but it’s not their fault. It’s mine. But I am happy you will give the corrected version a try.

      Like

  10. I read it on Kindle and noticed a few typos, but not the quotation marks. I was too enthralled with the story to notice much! Don’t beat yourself up. It happens. I re -published my first novel three times! Kept finding those darn typos! I’m sure there are still a few hanging around… ~Elle

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    • Thanks! You help me feel better. I know that there will always be mistakes…. I just want it to be as good as I can make it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m sorry this happened to you. Your honesty is so refreshing. It’s very hard to objectively read your own writing especially when you have probably read your book a zillion times. I’ll keep an eye out for the updated publication as I’d love to read it. Life does suck sometimes but then something good happens and it doesn’t seem so bad after all.

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    • Thanks. I will be happy to let everyone know when the revised version comes out – and I am as proud of the presentation as I am of the content.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Mistakes happen to teach us something; you’ve learned patience (and not to trust software or anyone but yourself!) I had your book on my ‘to buy’ list but hadn’t quite gotten around to it (like others who commented above, procrastination is my main ‘fault’); I’ll definitely get the revised Kindle version.

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    • Thanks, Margo. it is a relief to me that I am getting another chance.

      Like

  13. Awwww. I’m sorry this happened, but you’re fixing it and that’s all you can do. Not easy, but you’re doing it. I remember Robert Hall too. I don’t think I ever shopped there for girls’ stuff though. We probably went to Sears too! 🙂

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    • Robert Hall’s women’s department was pretty awful, I think. But then again, I bought clothes at WT Grant too.

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  14. I noticed the typos and punctuation errors and wondered, since it did not seem like you. But I understand your excitement and eagerness to get your “baby” out into the world. I loved the story and thought the “solution” was perfect. (I have the Kindle version and there is no need to replace it for me. If there’s a revised version, I may get it automatically, anyway. That has happened before with Kindle books I’ve purchased.)

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    • Thanks… I’m glad you liked the story and that you are understanding of my temporary insanity in rushing it to publication. I will do better in the future – that’s a promise.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You are not alone many people do those things rush things and end up with something not as good as it could be, we live and learn sadly sometimes we have to live a long time before we learn

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    • It is a significant comfort to see so many people who have been there – and who are forgiving of our failings. I have learned a very hard lesson that has made me very humble. Which is not a bad thing, is it?

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  16. I’m sorry you had to learn this lesson the hard way, but thanks for being brave enough to share it with the rest of us! I’ve rushed into things far too often, and almost always regret it. But as you say, the key is just to admit our mistakes and then do our best to fix them!

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    • I have found that denying a mistake or being defensive about it just makes it so much worse. Better to admit it, have a good cry, and get to work making it better. (and maybe a self-kick in the pants somewhere in the process is therapeutic too.)

      Like

  17. Thank you for sparing me the agony of reading it and trying to decide whether to let you know about typos and errors I’d found. As an editor and proofreader, I find it excruciating to read badly edited, formatted, or proofed material. I have the Kindle version (which I had barely started), so I’ll email you. Good for you for owning this. And you waited for just the right husband, right? WAAAY more important!

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    • Thanks. I have heard that once you purchase the Kindle, when the re-release comes out, you can download again for free. That is a relief to me. And yes, I did not rush into marriage – but maybe I would have if anyone had been the least interested. I guess I am glad I was very shy.

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  18. I really like your way of writing! You talk in pictures, just what I love to read. And mistakes and bad things happen, sometimes you don’t even realise they’re happening… but you seem like a strong and independent woman, you’d get through worse and make the best out of it.

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    • Thank you… that’s a great compliment. You have made my day!

      Like

  19. follow me mummyfootsteps.wordpress.com

    Like

    • Dear Mummyfootsteps: As someone who has been blogging for more than six years, l will offer this advice: To grow your blog, read other blogs to find those whose writing and perspective you like and whose subscribers may like what you have to say. Then comment on those blogs – thoughtful comments on what you have just read. In that way, readers may seek out your blog to see what you have to say. Just saying, “follow me” is not enough. Offer something.
      I don’t say this out of meanness. I wish you success in your writing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Nancy for the advice, I am new to this and I don’t know where to start and I haven’t had any advice for others too. Thank you again 🙂

        Like

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