I'm reading a new teen book that's gotten a lot of press. Something happened on page 14 that totally turned me off. The main character goes into the girls' room at her high school, walks into a stall, "puts down the lid" on the toilet and then sits on it to think. Now you tell me. How many high schools have toilets with lids? Commercial grade toilets don't have lids for several reasons, one of them being that they're just one more thing to break and with all the wear a commercial toilet gets it doesn't make sense.
So why am I talking about toilets? Because the author did something simply to serve her character and scene - she put a lid on a toilet so the character could sit on it and think. And it totally spoiled the mood for me. It just would never be. And I hate when authors make near impossible things possible just to serve their purpose. I hate mistakes in books.
Now I'm not talking about typos. There's a HUGE typo on the very last page of THE BOOK OF LUKE. And it drives me crazy. But the book keeps getting reprinted with that damn typo over and over again. I swear in my manuscript it was correct! Mistakes happen. Copyeditors and typesetters are people, afterall. By the time we've all read the book over and over we're lucky the chapters have the right numbers.
But authors are supposed to be held to a higher degree of accountability for the content they write. I once read a book for a blurb and it had the character taking a cab from Kennedy Airport in NYC to Manhattan. But the fare and the time it took to get there were all wrong! And it ruined it for me. Such a little detail and so easy to get right.
Creative license is one thing. Just making something implausable up just because it's what you want to happen or because your character needs it, is another. The character in the book could have sat on the floor. Totally gross. No person in their right mind would sit on the floor of a school bathroom. But it would totally have been in character. The girl is considered nuts. She's odd. She'd do something like that. I wish the author would have realized that instead of taking the easy way out and changing the rules of commercial plumbing.
What about you? Do you let the incorrect details slide or do they break the spell of the story?