I spent hours tweaking and revising a short story I’d written for Woman’s World. On Friday, I mailed the manila envelope containing the manuscript, a cover letter, and a SASE.
In my subdivision, the USPS provides banks of mailboxes with individual, locked boxes for each patron. The standing mailbox has a couple of large, locked compartments for packages too big to fit in the mailbox, and a narrow slot for outgoing mail.
After mailing the manuscript, I was plagued with feelings that something was wrong with it. That night, I dreamed of Blake Shelton. I’m not a country music fan, but there was a connection. In my story, there was a Mrs. Shelton, a seamstress and the mother of Brad Shelton, my male main character. This had to be the problem, and indeed, it was. After checking the document, I found that I’d spelled the last name as Sheldon in one place. I couldn’t let my ms go with an error like that, but it was already in the mailbox!
So I spent an hour or so Saturday morning sitting in a lawn chair on my driveway, burning up in the Florida heat, watching and waiting for the mailman. I had to get that manuscript back! If I got too hot, I retreated to the living room, where I sat beside the window, watching for that USPS truck.
When I saw it coming, I rushed right out. “I need to get something back I mailed last night,” I said to the carrier. I spied the manila envelope. “That’s it,” I told him. He handed it over and I breathed a sigh of relief.
I’ve already fixed the mistake – changed Sheldon to Shelton, and I’ll undo the envelope and exchange the pages tomorrow.
I had been so careful with the editing, or so I thought. Good thing that niggling little thought kept pestering me enough to check things out.
What about you? Have you ever let a ms go, and then later realized you’d made a mistake? Was it a little one, or a major disaster?