More Dirty Words, Please

Last month my writer’s group announced that we were doing “LERA Idol” in April. Members who chose to participate would bring the first two pages of their manuscript to be read aloud before a panel of three published authors for critique. I was like “Sweet!” I am working on revisions for my first NaNoWriMo novel and I can see how the opening works. Then, a week before the meeting, I re-read the first chapter just for kicks, and was like “Wow. This. Really. Sucks.”

Scenes were too long, punch lines came too late, and there were way too many internal thoughts. I am the queen of internal thoughts.

The first half of the week I brainstormed how to tighten those first two pages up.

The second half of the week I tried out the brainstorm idea. Hated it.

Friday night I did laundry, did a pedicure, poured a glass of wine, started reading a new book—just about anything to avoid working on my revision. Finally, a little after nine o’ clock, I polished a few sentences, yawned, patted myself on the back, and assured myself I’d get up early the next morning and finish it all off just in time for the meeting.

Saturday morning I got up bright and early all right. Then proceeded to go for a fast walk, stretch, shower—I felt great.

Then I looked at the clock.


I had only an hour and half left to finish revising, print, and get out the door.

My butt hit the chair real fast then. Started trimming and condensing and flipping through my thesaurus like crazy.

Magically—or, nothing like total flip-out to make shit happen—I got it done. Hit print and ran back and forth through the living room, imitating Rocky at the top of the steps.


(The cat was not impressed.)

That was the easy part. I shook like a leaf before the reading of my pages (Too much swearing? Too sexually explicit?? Not funny at all???), froze during, and had a good ten minutes of teeth chattering after. BUT . . .

Standing: President Louise Bergin, Seated at table from left to right: authors Katie Lane, Amanda McCabe, and Robin Perini.
Standing: President Louise Bergin. Seated at table from left to right: authors Katie Lane, Amanda McCabe, and Robin Perini.

The photography timing gods were on my side when I took this picture. I mean this is the money shot right here. Robin’s expression is priceless. Katie looks like she is in her element. And I have mad respect for Louise, our President, who read through all the swear words and sexual situations like a champ.

The verdict? The opening line and final punch line landed. Yes! Score!

Ironically, I also need to add more stage direction, more dirty words, and more INTERNAL THOUGHTS.

Huh. Now, that, I can do.


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