Me after the wedding
Recently, I almost missed a friend's wedding.Bruce mentioned work and then mentioned the wedding and I fused the two conversations in my mind. So I believed Bruce was going to the wedding of the daughter of a co-worker whom I'd never met, much less the daughter. Bruce thought it odd I didn't want to go, but I'm all grown up and can make my own decisions. Then a couple of nights before the wedding, Bruce mentioned something about our friend going to the wedding and I asked, "Why is he going?" When Bruce said, "Because it's his daughter getting married, of course," I was all, "Ohmigod, of course I'm going too!"
This story illustrates how easy it is to miscommunicate and miss the communication and miss an opportunity all in one. This happens more often than you'd think, even in fiction. Ask yourself how many times you've been stopped while reading something and thought, "What does that mean?" Or, "I don't think the author meant those words the way they do mean."There's where the communication has been missed. And the opportunity? Why, to keep the reader reading, of course! Getting bumped from a story is never good and can be catastrophic.
So how to avoid this problem? Beta readers and critique groups both are great--if they are the readers and groups that give solid feedback. Also, set aside the draft and return to it after a pause and you'll find a lot of these mis-communications. Finally, I have a friend who reads everything aloud and swears it works best. This, however, has never worked for me and drives me crazy.
What do you, dear writers, to avoid the dreaded "mis"?