Editing. Or, why everyone should own a globe

So I am reading Libba Bray’s Going Bovine, the 2010 Printz Award winner. (An award given out by the Young Adult Library Services Association for Excellence in Young Adult Fiction, for all you non-librarians out there.) So it’s quirky and sarcastic and weird, and I’m really enjoying it.

Until I read something that totally threw me off, now making it next to impossible for me to get back into.

According to Ms. Bray, biography she lived in Texas most of her life. So it makes sense that she takes her characters on an adventure to New Orleans, or Nawlins, or The Big Easy. She probably spent time there growing up and wanted to pull that real-life experience and knowledge into her story. Great! I love that!

Until she totally effed up the geography. According to Google there is a real Calhoun High School, in Port Lavaca, Texas. Lets assume that is the very high school in which Ms. Bray got her inspiration. According to Google Maps it takes 8 hours, 7 minutes to arrive by car. The bus Cameron and Gonzo are on leaves in the evening, and “we roll into the city around dinnertime,” (138). Did this bus make numerous stops the narrator did not inform us about, that made the usually 8-hour trip an almost 24-hour one?

But the part that really gets me is that they drove over the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which connects St. Tamminy Parrish to New Orleans. This gives drivers a straight-shot to NOLA, instead of having to drive around the lake. But there is NO WAY that a bus going from Texas (ANYWHERE in Texas!) would have to cross the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. But lets say this was the dumb-as-all-get-out schedule that took a northern route to pick up passengers from East Louisiana, and actually had to cross the Causeway. There is NO WAY IN HECK that Cameron would have had enough time to wake up while on the causeway, have a conversation with an old woman across the bus aisle, fall back asleep, and wake up hours later around “dinnertime”. Period. Wouldn’t happen, my friends.

So to all you editors out there…buy an atlas, tack it up on your wall, and make your copy editors consult the damn thing any time a change of venue occurs.

4 Thoughts

  1. isn't the narrator delirious from mad cow disease? isn't it questionable that this journey he's on isn't even actually happening? if you assume those two things, then the lack of accurate geography is really irrelevant. i suggest you keep reading 🙂

  2. I love you, sister!! Your rants are so honest and about real stuff, nothing like mine. You are such an intelligent woman to have even questioned that timeline!! You are truly meant to be a librarian.

  3. HOORAY for people that care about details! That's what I always worry about in my writing. That's why I like writing fantasy in made up worlds, cuz you make your own geography 😀

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