After working on a book for almost two years, having your biz partner go over it, two copy editors go over it, having a dedicated continuity editor go over it, and then reading it out loud for the audiobook, some mistakes still get through. And when the mistake is as butt-hurtin’ as the one below, it’s a wee bit frustrating:
“Hey Scott, I was just curious about something. Andre “Death Ray” Ridley seems like he’s an all star in this book, but there’s a hitch. You sorta killed him in week 13 of the MVP. Thought it was worth mentioning. In all honesty I’m glad he lived. Go Bugs.”
I read that and I thought: “Wow, that Stiffnation dude is a total wanker, spreading all these damn lies about my damn book.”
Then, I checked THE MVP. Sure enough, Stiffnation was right. André “Death Ray” Ridley died in THE MVP, Book IV of the GFL series, yet there he was in the weekly recaps of THE CHAMPION, Book V of the GFL series.
You don’t have to be a math major to see the issue here.
Yes, André Ridley, named after my awesome roommate from my freshman year at Olivet College, had somehow come back from the dead, armored up, and stepped onto the field to play for the lime green, powder blue, lemon yellow and black (hey, not all uniforms can be as pimp as the Krakens, amiright?). In my brain, the Waterbugs were synonymous with Ridley, so when I wrote about them, I wrote about him. That slipped by all the eyes, because no one remembered a little line from a weekly summary of THE MVP.
In short, we missed this one.
Now don’t go sending emails about how you volunteer to be a GFL continuity editor, because trust me, we’re covered. The amount of stuff our editor did catch is impressive (turns out I have a mind for character and plot, not so much a mind for tracking the 53 players on 22 GFL rosters). We’re good. Sometimes, though, even Rain Man can miss something.
We had us a Zombie Ridley. At first I thought something along the lines of: “Well, he wasn’t really dead, or maybe he was declared dead and then new technology brought him back to life.” Plausible, right? Yeah, until I threw this idea at ARealGirl and she said: “But dead equals dead.”
Four words from her, and I’m stymied.
Because she’s right. The commitment we make to all y’all is that we don’t try to tug at the heartstrings by killing off characters, then backpedalling and bringing those characters back to life so we can tell more stories. In my opinion, that’s dishonest storytelling. It’s lazy storytelling. It’s a way of saying: “the only thing left that will get you is if I kill off your favorite, but I like my franchise, and I really like the money it brings in, so I’ll ‘kill’ the character and then conveniently bring her/him back for the next movie/book/season/series.”
That system works great for a lot of creators and a lot of fans, but it’s not how we run our shop. Andre Ridley died — in print — and that’s that. Dead = dead. It’s embarrassing and it sucks, but that’s really all there is to it.
So how do we fix it? We change that character name for the upcoming eBook and paperback. We re-record those spots for the audiobook and update them to Audible. We can’t change the hardcover, though, as that is already out. Zombie Ridley will be a legacy in the hardcovers only. He will vanish from the official timeline after his demise in THE MVP.
The player’s new name? Dylan Stiff.
Don’t get crazy looking for errors, Junkies, this is a one-time deal.
Making this change is a pain in the ass, but it’s what we need to do to make the story right. Also, Stiffnation is still a total wanker for pointing this out.
PS: Where did Andre get his nickname? From the Top Gun video game, circa 1989. You couldn’t play without a callsign. Many hours in the dorm room were burned with André “Death Ray” Ridley and Scott “The Mad Doberman” Sigler flying sortees against those damn communists in an effort to keep the world safe. We only turned that game off when it was time for THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS cartoon. Such was college life, folks.