One Writer's Slip-ups

We all slip-up once in a while by either saying or doing something we wish we hadn’t. This is nothing to be ashamed of. I say this, recalling that when I was a neophyte attorney, I once asked a seasoned lawyer an irregular question. The mere recollection of my query still makes me wince; it was idiotic of me. Don’t ask me to repeat it because I won’t. (However, rest assured, that for a small fee, I may be convinced).

The more we speak and act without thinking, the greater the risk of a slip-up. Sometimes, words or situations escape our grasp. We may be distracted, tired, naive (as in the case of my own wayward question) or otherwise mentally distraught, causing us to act uncharacteristically.

Words and actions depict us (and in our writing, they depict our characters), furnishing the elements of our personalities and dictating the direction of situations. These same words and actions can also deform us, if not properly presented. I experienced a near miss recently while volunteering at the library. I was placed in charge of tracing missing books, a task for which I seemed to have an uncanny knack. The head librarian patted me on the back because I’d located books they’d been seeking for weeks. I became known as the Book Hunter.

Soon after, I found yet another missing tome, and then did something that could have smirched my reputation. I put the book down somewhere and found myself a victim of ROA (Rapid Onset Amnesia). I retraced my steps (or what I thought could have been my steps), and thankfully, the matter of my idiocy remained private; I’d inadvertently shelved the book while pausing to skim a few paragraphs of another. I emerged untarnished.

In our writing life, however, these slip-ups make for interesting situations. For twists and turns. In my Book Two that I’m currently working on, my heroine leaves something incriminating behind at a crime scene because she was distracted. To make things worse, the discriminating item doesn’t even belong to her, but belongs to her best friend. Slip-ups in real life don’t work so well. In the writing life, they are a necessity.

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