Tuesday, January 29, 2013


On New Year's Eve, right before fireworks and falling into bed (because that's the kind of party girl I'm not) I wrote THE END on my current book, FIND ME.

The next day, my eldest gave me a card she drew. It said - Did you write a Book? YOU DID? Good Job! (many smiley faces and flowers)(Can't find the card now, but when I do, I'll post it here. You know it's totally adorable.)

If you get a card from your kid, that means you're all done, right? No....
After taking a couple of weeks to noodle around with an ending I was just not happy with, I'm now ready to put FIND ME out to Beta readers - ALMOST.

Here are the things I had to do to make it ready. It's my Get Ready For Prime Time Check List:

1) Spell Check
Yeah, duh. But you'd be surprised how in the heat of writing you can misspell exhilerate. excillerate. exhilarate. Spell check also catches repeated words. His his or or on on - when I'm cutting and pasting I'll inevitably leave behind some orphan prepositions. And the grammar check wants to ask you if you really need quite so many fragments.

2) TK
TK is copy edit short hand for To Come, as in, I can't stop to look this up right now so I'm going to slap on a TK and move on. Yesterday I filled in my TK's which means I did the following google searches (in case the FBI is wondering about my browser cache)

  • Quote from The Neverending Story
  • MTA Maps
  • Irish Football shirts
  • Latin phrases
  • Indigenous place names in Northern New Jersey
  • Scouting NY (an awesome website by a NYC film scout - he finds the most amazing places!)
  • Maps of Palisades Parkway
  • La Lupe (Cuban singer)
  • Blood Donation and replenishment
  • Brust Park
  • Tastee Kake
  • Trojan Horse
  • Spanish name origins
  • What's in a knish?
  • Colleges near Bronx
  • wax melting temperature
  • metal melting temperature
  • HS AP English syllabus

3)Crutch Words
Oh Lordy. When you are drafting, you've got your voice flowing, you're ducking and diving you're in the zone - it's awesome. Then you come up for air and realize you use some phrases and words too much. These words are repetitive and can echo in the reader's mind - in a bad way, pulling them up short. When I use lazy crutch words it's because I'm in the zone and I'm too rushed to be thoughtful, so I grab at a word I use a lot, one I like and am comfortable with. Comfy words are fine and make up a writer's voice, but DON'T GET LAZY! Some words are used really really a lot in real life (like 'really') so it's not quite so egregious to use those often. But for me, so far, some of my crutch words are pristine, probably, paste a smile, and whatever. There will be more that I don't catch. I'm trusting my beta readers to stop me from using lazy words.

4) Beats
As in dialogue beats. I am usually pretty good when writing dialogue, I tend to include beats - moments around the dialogue that ground the reader in the action and location of the characters speaking. This is so you don't finish reading a section of dialogue and have no mental image of where the characters are or what they are doing. People don't (unless they are stoned or robots) usually walk into a room, stand in front of each other and talk until they are done. They fidget, they pick things up (and put them down.) They interact with their space. I want to make sure I don't inadvertently turn my MC into a robot or a stoner.

And that's it. On friday FIND ME will go out to beta readers and I will forget it exists (HA!) for a month. Then in March I'll take it out of it's virtual marinating drawer, compare notes from beta readers and polish the EFF out of it. Then I'll send it to Barbara while swilling a new cocktail of my own creation called the Nervous Nellie (recipe to come.)

What do you do to get ready for Beta Readers?


  1. The same things you do. ^_^ Congratulations on finishing! Now go celebrate yourself!

    1. thanks! it's so hard to celebrate yourself and so easy to celebrate others, right? at least we can do it for each other!

  2. Replies
    1. thanks Donna. amazing how after any writerly achievement I ask myself, "Now what?" After, of course, I eat chocolate.

  3. I'm a big abuser of just and that. Have to ferret them out. And I highlight in yellow and write in all caps stuff like WHAT STREET NAME and NAME OF REALLY SAD SONG that are my TK's.

    1. The only thing worse than the amount of JUSTS in my writing is the amount of JUSTS in my speech. I may give JUST up for lent...And yes, the highlight feature gets a work out in my WIPs too. I also do thins like "some poetry here." without placeholders I think it would take me decades to write one book!

  4. Awesome process! I admire how organized you are. I hope the rest of your revising/editing goes well!

    1. Thanks Emily, but it's all a ruse, I only *seem* organized. Inside the writing cave there are mountains of stickies and stacks of unwashed coffee mugs. Still, my ms. is pretty tidy!

  5. You really do sound very organised - I'm inspired! Best of luck x

    1. Thanks Linda. I always wish I could be *more* organized, so it's nice to know that someone thinks I am!

  6. Two things:

    1. Can't wait to see this AMAZING card. (congrats, btw, on typing THE END).

    2. Nervous Nellie cocktail? Yes, please!


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