I’ve just read a book in which the author mentions Harry Potter in a novel set in the 70s and 80s. Definitely a throw-book-against-wall moment. It’s a sloppy slip up, it shouldn’t have happened, yet it is so easy for these type of inaccuracies to occur during writing.
When I was writing my own novel I wanted to have a certain character singing the Spanish anthem and I wrote an impressive emotional scene around this grave patriotic moment. When I was revising the novel, I took off my lovely, floppy, creative hat and donned the grim beret I wear as editor and when I went to download the lyrics of the anthem to insert into the manuscript, I discovered to my absolute horror that the Spanish anthem is a a march without any words at all.
So these slip-ups happen to all of us. The best way to avoid them is to do as much preliminary research as possible, to get your facts right before you start writing.
Spanish parliament are desperate to remedy their wordless anthem – they’ve held lyric competitions, Placido Domingo wants to be the first person to officially record it and Alejandro Blanco, president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, is desperate to see the lyric dilemma settled in time for Madrid’s bid to host the 2016 games. And, in spite of my petition to Spanish Parliament to settle this asap to avoid a major rewrite in my own novel, the Spaniards still hum when their anthem is played. So, a rewriting I will have to go.