The Paper Cut

One of the weirdest things I discovered early in my career was that a story I’ve been writing on a screen not only looks completely different on the page, it reads completely different on the page.  

That’s why a paper edit is crucial.


I print the book out and it’s new again, places where there are holes in the story are glaringly clear, places I can easily cut leap out at me.  It’s just a brand new story, and that’s invaluable.  So why don’t I do the whole thing on paper?  Have you forgotten how many drafts I do and how much I change things?  If I didn’t have a computer, I don’t think I’d write, it would just be too damn hard.  (Pat Gaffney and Krissie both write drafts in longhand; I cannot comprehend that.).  

I couldn’t wait to get to the paper edit of this act because I really, really, really wanted to read it for the first time.  I did manage to do another major cut before I printed it out, taking it from 41,000 to 35,000, but one of the many great things about a paper edit is that I find a lot more places to cut.  Red ink everywhere.  Tags showing me how often a  motif is repeated.  Notes about what to work throughout the act.  Notes about the rest of the book.  Stains from tea and Diet Coke.  Dog hair.  It’s all in there.

And then all those changes went back into the computer; I’m not insane.  But when I get the other three acts done, I’ll do another paper edit.  It’s the only way to really see the book.  (Yes, Pam, I’m saving them for you.)


Did you want to read it?  . .I’d think you’d be sick of it by now, but if not, here it is.

113 thoughts on “The Paper Cut

  1. “Tags showing me how often a motif is repeated.”

    As ever this explains so much. I read a series where the author repeats dialogue or descriptions by a character. That makes sense in real world, we do repeat ourselves. But it is jarring in a book.

    And YES I’m going to read this draft.

    1. I don’t mind always if common phrases are repeated by the same character – but there’s a space opera writer who has ALL of his characters from ALL of the various social systems use the same few phrases. I just want to scream.

  2. Well, that made me happy.

    One point that caught me – I’ve used the phrase drunk *off* my ass before, but never drunk *on* my ass, so that was jarring. Can’t wait to read the whole thing!

  3. Just an obvious question I have been thinking of since one of the earlier drafts. And it probably is a plotpoint, so tell me to back off: Nita and Mort are twins, obviously fraternal ones, but, without IVF (or other) interference, people with the same parents?

  4. Wheeeee!!!! I love it.

    One thing you might want to think about is after Rab and Dag show their real faces to Vinnie they put their human disguises back up and you say they are then normal looking when they really are human looking. Normal for them is green.

    Are Devils elected for 2000 or 5000 year terms? You use both but maybe I missed something in my excitement.

      1. I edit and proof. I caught word things, like omissions or tense, but you said leave alone until the final. Okay. I omit and misspell when writing furiously too.

        The writing is now so *tight*. Story just pulls the reader through. Don’t know whether it’s through familiarity (read all the drafts) or what, but I follow more easily, the characters are clearer. I find the protags much more likable. Love what you’ve done with Nita’s coming to terms.

        Can’t wait to meet the mother. And there’s gotta be a scene between Nick and Max. I’m fond of Max, he’s earned himself a scene.

        So much excellence here.

        Finish. Or I might organize a march.

  5. I love watching how each draft evolves– I’m learning so much from you and I appreciate how you’re taking the time to explain all of your process.

    Plus, this book just kicks ass.

    One issue jumped out at me: Nick was standing next to Joey during the shooting. The bullets passed through Nick, tore up his shirt, and hit Joey. Later, during the reveal in the bar, Nick takes off his jacket and Button/Mort/Nita are surprised by his shirt looking like Swiss cheese.

    This is a good beat, and helps further the connection for the readers and the characters that something weird is going on. However, I cannot figure out why Nick was talking to Joey out front with his jacket off and then put the jacket back on.

    There are no holes described in the jacket, only in the shirt, so it sounds like the jacket was unaffected. Plus, Mort is really fixated on the shirt, not his full ensemble.

    But Nick as he starts off is pretty formal and doesn’t strike me as someone who pays attention to his physical comfort. A man taking off his suit jacket is often coded as either something casual or a bid for comfort. So that bit of business strikes me as inconsistent with his character. It threw me out of the action when I was reading it.

    But really, this just keeps getting better and better!

    1. I had a bit in there and it got lost in the cuts.
      Basically, it was hot in the bar because he’s putting out so much heat, so he wasn’t wearing the jacket. After he was shot with the shirt in ribbons, he put on the jacket to cover up the damage.

      But it’s not in there, so I have to put that back.

  6. In chapter 3 Chloe is driving Nita back to the house where she picked her up that morning. Then several paragraphs later Nita indicates to Chloe where her house was. Wouldn’t she already know that?

    Another reader anxiously waiting for more! 🙂

  7. That’s Nita reminding her so she doesn’t miss it. They’re in the middle of a conversation. I do that to Krissie all the time. “This is where we turn.” We get caught up in talking and miss things.

  8. Early on, Nita is 5’7. But then she’s described as tall. And that’s not really tall. I mean, it is if you’re only 5’2″ or something (as some of us are), but these days I’m not even sure it’s above average.

    Or I missed something, always a reasonable possibility.

    1. Chapter 5, Nita speaking: The guy we know is at least 6’4,” he’s a lot taller than Mort, who’s five nine like me.

    2. I thought she was five nine.
      Nope, I checked. Nowhere does it say 5’7″. I don’t think I’ve ever had a 5’7″ heroine.
      There’s a place where she says something about Mort being five nine, like her, but that’s it.

      1. Mort suddenly shrank for me: I’d imagined him tall and thin, probably because of his name, and the way he folds himself into the car. (NB this isn’t a criticism; I just noticed the way I’d fleshed him out in the drafts before you gave his actual height.)

  9. This is so much fun AND educational. I had to look up Cthulhu. Among the sites found this:
    Official campaign site of Cthulhu for President 2020. Abandon the pathetically lesser evils and vote for the Greatest Evil.

    Makes me wanna be like Nita and acknowledge the new reality…

  10. Always happy to read a draft. I forget them about 5 minutes after I finish reading, so it’s like getting a new story every time you do a revision.

    I noticed in the beginning paragraphs that Nita “pointed her empty coffee cup toward the bar.”, but then shortly thereafter she “sipped more coffee and grimaced”.

  11. Delightful doesn’t cover it. I love Nick, I am getting to love Nita in addition to being fascinated by her, and Button is great. And the plot is complex and I love it.

    I was confused a bit that there is a Satan and a Lucifer and a Beelzebub when I thought they were different names for the same entity, and I’m not sure which team they are playing for, but I can cope.

    I meant to go to bed a while ago. Once again a Crusie kept me riveted long past my bed time! Thank you.

    1. Mythology lumps Satan and Lucifer together at the Devil. Satan is the Adversary and Lucifer is Lord of Light and they don’t have same story although Satan can easily be collated as Lucifer after the Fall. Beelzebub is a random demon. The premise in this story is that Earth myth got it wrong because of prejudice against demons. Hence “demonizing” . . .

    2. Yes, I had the same problem. I don’t know enough about devils/demons to recognize the subtle differences. To me, “devil,” “Satan,” “Beelzebub,” “Lucifer,” etc, etc are all interchangeable. I’d have had an easier time if they were Tom, Dick and Harry. 🙂

  12. Somewhere in the Dag, Rab and Nick scenes it mentions a 2000 year term as Devil and later 5000 years.

    I’m exhausted or I’d go check properly.

    Thanks for this. Can’t wait for the rest.

      1. Then maybe it’s in more than one spot because I read this all between 0700-0900 on 4/24 and it’s still there because I noticed it too.

  13. Hi

    Wow. I loved it and am so amazed at the changes over time.

    I did pick up a few minor things that were jarring to me. Unfortunately I didn’t take notes on where they are…

    It doesn’t make sense to me that Nick starts out eating healthy food. He is already dead. What does he care? Maybe he picks a food because it reminds him of what he eat when alive or maybe he is in the restaurant for a completely different reason and it’s Nita’s food that starts him eating at all?

    The bar being lit by only red Christmas lights–that seems awfully dark given that its also the middle of the night. I’m not sure they could see anything even dimly.

    At some point Nick says he isn’t allowed to harm humans. A few lines later he makes a threat to Vince and Vince says you aren’t allowed to kill me and Nick says something about how he has a lot of leeway and can do a lot short of killing.

    Mort calls Nita Honey. To me that’s an endearment between romantic partners or parents and kids but not siblings. Dunno if the world thinks that.

    At some point Button explains what Nita is doing by saying “Sometimes she sings” but I don’t think Button has learned that about Nita yet.

    And at some point you say “fake naked ” when I think you mean “naked fake” .

    Can’t wait for the next installment!

  14. I stumbled when I read this: “He was a skeleton. He was a skeleton wearing dress pants and a Hell Bar souvenir t-shirt, but still a skeleton. The t-shirt was a lot looser now that it was just covering a rib cage.” I’m not sure why the shirt would hang differently.

    Nick is a skeleton, but he makes it appear that he has flesh (when it’s exposed) and bulk (so his clothes hang nicely.) Why would his clothes hang differently just because Nita can see the skeleton? Either they always hang right on the bones and Nick has to make it appear that they don’t (and that seems to limit the value of having real cloth rather than CGI-ing his clothes) or he’s got a force field or psychic padding or something that push the fabric out instead of letting it touch the bones.

    Or, maybe I’m mis-reading that. Are you saying that the shirt is “looser” now because it’s floating out where skin would be, if there were some?

    Most of all, thank you for sharing this story in all it’s incarnations. It’s been fascinating, and I can’t wait for a finished version.

    1. I just assumed that before, the illusion was working on her and she saw what Nick wanted her to see: a filled out tshirt. Then, when the scupper made her see things as they are, she saw a tshirt hanging on a skeleton frame. As for why bother with the t-shirt when you’re already having to project an image, maybe it’s one less thing to project?

  15. In chapter 4, I assume this sentence “She pointed to the back of the diner where Rab was passing over the ketchup to Phronie at the next one.” is supposed to end with “table” and not “one”?

    I love the post-historical society beat, the moment when Nick starts thinking of the island as his. It’s great character development and it does so much for blending Nita and Nick’s goals into one shared goal, even before Nita’s wake up call at the end of the act.

    I can’t say enough about how much I’m enjoying this. The characters are so good and I’m genuinely invested in the mystery.

    1. Huh.
      My theory, obviously unformed, is that his facade is solid. But if that were true, it’d still be there and even if she saw beneath the facade, she’d still hit his chest when she poked at him and the t-shirt would still be stretched.
      Must cogitate.

      Note: This was a reply to Kate. Sorry.

      1. Maybe the shirt looks funny because she’s not seeing the facade, almost like the stretching is an optical illusion. I’m picturing a really over starched t-shirt, one that holds a shape when there’s nothing to fill it out. Does that make sense?

        1. Yes. I think I’ve just set myself up a mess here and the easiest thing to do is not mention the T-shirt. That’s too much explaining for something that’s not important and that she probably wouldn’t notice. But good catch.

  16. Minor typo ““Can I talk you for a minute,” Button said, poking her from behind again.” in scene 3. Probably meant, Can I talk with/to you for a minute,”…

    I will mention that having a tall Asian and a stocky, chunky Nordic threw me. Most Asians I know are rather short and Nordic men I imagine as tall, 6’2″ Vikings. Perhaps, husky?

    Another minor typo: “He looked back at bar where the detective was now stirring up something”
    He probably “looked back at the bar”.

    Just finished chapter 2. Please don’t take down the rest yet. I want to finish reading them. I had a quilting retreat this weekend & was late seeing this post.

    1. I’m leaving these up here. I’ll put a link on the book page on the website when the book is done so people can see the progression of the drafts. Because needless to say, this will not be the last pass at this. For one thing, it’s 3000 words too long.

    2. Forgot to mention: Dag is 5’10” (or at least his Korean placeholder is). I just looked it up and that’s average height for an American man. So not tall.

      1. There are a lot of Asian guys who are near 6′ tall. And, my co-worker is from Sweden and I think he’s about 5’6″ or so. (-: Another fun fact: Koreans are supposed to be the tallest in Asia on average, possibly because they eat their veggies. (I picked this fun fact up from some pamphlet I read when I was in Korea, so it may not be a fact at all.)

  17. This is so great! I’m really glad you branched out into the supernatural these last few books. I can’t wait to read the rest.

    I have two relatively minor quibbles. First, I have problems with Nita’s drinking. In the beginning, she spends a lot of time getting sober, and there’s generally a lot of protestation that she only got drunk because she was feeling sick to her stomach. But then she suddenly decides she needs a drink to finish up this case. Leading to the scupper, which is hugely important, I understand.

    Am I just missing something? Does she often drink to self-medicate against her weird feelings of not-belonging, but cover it up with, “Oh, I had a bad doughnut.”? I wouldn’t judge her for that, but I had to think quite hard before I came up with that. I take the doughnut excuse very literally, not looking at any subtext (my family doesn’t really drink), and then I was very surprised that she starts drinking in the bar.

    The other thing is that I had problems before with Mort not being the devil’s son, too. Superfecundation is a thing, and I’ve seen it in a couple of modern fantasy places (most recently, one of Ilona Andrews’ werewolves had twins from different daddies). I think I notice more references to blue eyes this time around, which is helpful for establishing Nita’s genetic oddity. But I don’t remember any references to Mort’s blue eyes. Nick is aware that Mort and Nita are brother and sister, but how does he know that Mort isn’t Satan’s son? Or is it that he only cares about Nita at this point, and Mort is just a fuzzy blob to him?

    Both are relatively minor for me. I can’t wait to see the end and how all of this plays out!

    1. I assumed Nita felt sobering up wasn’t doing it for her, and decided to try hair of the dog instead – a commonly recommended ‘cure’.

    2. 1. She doesn’t spend a lot of time getting sober. She’s in the car less than a hour, and coffee does not make you sober. She’s trying to sober up to help Mort, but if you’ve ever tried to sober up when you’re not a big drinker, you just talk yourself into it; you’re still drunk. By the time she gets to the last drink, things are so strange that she does the hair of the dog thing, but she’s not sober when she decided that, either. She’s not going to be really sober until the next day at breakfast. I’m not a drinker, so I should probably sit down with my bourbon and drink four shots and see if I can still walk; Nita’s probably a social drinker but not a heavy drinker, so I think she’s in about the right place for four shots. Maybe I should scale that back to three.

      2. ” Mort climbed into the back seat, folding his five-foot-nine-inches like a jackknife, his narrow face cheerful and his blue eyes bright as a lock of dark hair fell into an upside down question mark over the scar on his forehead.”

      1. Thinking back to my college days, I could walk after four whiskey sours, but I was not in very good shape at all. Ready to tell “them” all to stuff it. One more, and I’d be retreating into sullenness, or retreating to the bathroom. (-: But that’s just my data point.

        I love the scupper. Sounds like the most delicious kind of intoxicant, and I like that you have to be “part of the club” so to speak in order to enjoy it.

        Nita’s attitude toward alcohol and duty does make me wonder, but it’s by no means a dealbreaker to throw me out of the story.

      2. I get drunk really easily and I’d be feeling sick and having to concentrate to talk straight after 3 shots. But you could add in that it’s an hour since Nita’s last drink and she’s tall, and 4 seems ok to me.

    3. I assumed the blue eye thing was because Mitzi & the Mayor & Mort have blue eyes which are a recessive trait and Nita has brown/black eyes. So she has to have a different father.

      1. Technically, she doesn’t (I found out researching) but it’s highly unlikely that the mayor would be her dad.

  18. Lucifer’s blue eyes made me wonder if he was Mort’s father. I don’t know whether you intended that.

    1. Nope. But the blue eyes are important so they stay. It’s okay that it’s a red herring at that point.

      1. I have to say, at this point, the eyes are really poppin’ (LOL, punnish, sorry). I don’t know if it’s really that obvious to a first-time reader, or an artifact of having read the story and seeing it discussed. During this read, I wondered if Lucifer was maybe the Mayor’s or Mitzi’s ancestor.

        1. I worried about that because I never describe eyes unless they’re relevant, which they are here. That’s also why you don’t get any other character’s eyes except for Button, and that’s because I was going for the trope of the fluffy little blue-eyed blonde. I’ll probably cut the blue eyes on her because that’s just confusing. Way too many eyes.

          1. I don’t think Button’s eyes will matter to a first-time reader — as you say, they’ll reinforce the trope. And for a real second-time reader, they’ll know exactly what the eyes mean, and that Button isn’t a part of whatever.

            (-: You’ve got a strange bunch of readers who have read, analyzed and discussed the first act about three or four times, but still don’t know what it all means. So we go off on tangents, we notice things a first-time reader won’t, and we . . . well, we have a heck of a good time, so thank you very much for opening up the process to us!

  19. I heard once that just changing the font and size of your words was good for editing too. Something about changing things in one way makes out brains sit up an notice.

    Also I don’t know if this is the place for this, but I still can’t get the PopD podcast working on my podcast player. I’m up to weekend and Bernie’s and I’m too afraid to unsubscribe and resubscribe in case it isn’t there again. Does anyone have any ideas for what might work?

    1. I’ll check with Lani. She’s hosting it for three months on her server until we can transfer it over to ours. Because of something technical.

      1. No problem! Exciting read through! Found another typo: Chap 6, scene with Nita and Vinnie in bar:

        ““Sure,” Vinnie said, not following. “I don’t think he’d going to let them, though.”

        Should that be “he’s” not “he’d”?


  20. OK, I don’t know if this is because we’ve read it a lot, and it’s been an issue before, but when I got to Joyce this time around, the thought, “Man, she’s stubborn,” popped into my head re Nita & the supernatural. Of course, this time around, you very clearly laid it out that Hell is trying to suck her back so we the readers are ahead of Nita on the count of “odd things.”

    I’m going to make my husband read this and see what he thinks about her being dense re supernatural.

    1. I don’t know if someone caught this yet, but Chapter 4: she comes form a long LINE of Buttons

      1. That’s one of my favorite lines, the idea that even while her brains are basically running out of her ears, she’s not doing anything without proof.
        Every now and then, I’m a genius (g).

    2. I love Joyce more every time I read her. I’ve got a real blindspot for my pets — I think they are the most brilliant, adorable, elegant/cute things on earth. “That’s an overbite.” Just makes me giggle every time I remember it.

      And the thing is, part of me still thinks, “Well, the cat *might* be an mortal cat. Could go either way.” I like that very, very much. At this point in the story, it’s not important that the cat is a hellcat. I think it *is* important that it could be a hellcat, and that’s conveyed so well. I like the tension there.

  21. This is great! I loved seeing all the versions and how every pass got tighter and tighter until everything fit together so nicely!

    The only thing that bothered me (and this may just be me) was Nita making a drink at the bar. She informs Button earlier she was drunk because she didn’t know she’d be on the job. But now that she is on the job, why does she fix a drink? She seems to take her job seriously so why would she decide this interrogation was the best time to down a few shots? I loved the whole scene, but couldn’t help feeling it didn’t ring true to the character.

  22. In chapter 4, you moved around parts of the conversation. Unfortunately, we now have

    “Nita sat back. “I can’t believe this. Joey’s been killed, you’re missing two people, somebody tries to kill me, and this is what you come up with. Button the Demon Slayer.”

    before she learns that Nick is missing two agents. We know it from the conversation Nick had with Dag and Rab but I don’t remember Nick telling that to Nita in the bar, Vinnie – yes, Nita – I don’t think so.

      1. Also, sorry, but here’s another minor one. Remember when in scene 2, Nick walked out of Vinnie’s office with two sets of books? He doesn’t do that anymore. However, when Nita is questioning Vinnie in chapter 6 scene 2, Vinnie mentions Nick cleaning up the books

        ““That’s what’s so great,” Vinnie said. “He ain’t taking it over. He’s fixin’ it up, and he got the books straightened, and Dag’s ordering better booze–”

        Not a big thing. I expect most people would skim past it. But thought you’d might want to think about whether you want to leave it in or not since it is now the first reference to it.

        1. Nick’s been there for over a day so he must have been doing something, right? I knew that was in there, I just figured people would assume they hadn’t seen everything he was doing.
          But if it’s something people trip over, I’ll take it out. This draft needs cutting anyway.

  23. I’m sorry I’m not doing a better job of compiling my comments. Going to try to do so now.

    A typo : ““I didn’t ask about the money. You don’t ask people were they got their money.” where not were, unless that was to indicate Vinnie’s drunk.

    That was followed by Nita saying “You do when you’re going into business together.” Except Vinnie didn’t say they were going into business together, just that Nick was spending money on the place.

    At the end of chapter 6, Nick is angry and complains about having to fix Satan’s screw up of having a daughter. Why does he complain? His job is Satan’s fixer. This is what he does, often, I assume.

    In chapter 7, Mammon says to Max
    “There are things down there that would be best . . .” Mammon hesitated, his calculating face looking up at the Devil’s Chair. “. . . left uncovered.”
    Uncovered? As in revealed? Perhaps you meant undiscovered or covered or such?

    Minor typo: sawa
    Nita sawa the box trying to press itself between the front seats to get to the back.

    Missing a word: “… he burn her into a scorch mark…”

    Last comment is on the time differences. If 1 hour in hell equals 10 hours on earth, then 1 hell minute equals 10 earth minutes and 1 hell year is 10 earth years. When Nick returns to earth & Nita says he’d been gone for hours, but from the time Rab called Belila who spoke to Nick who said they’d leave in 5 minutes, assuming they actually left in 5 minutes, he might have been unavailable after they found the head for 90-100 minutes, maybe two hours, which would be “gone for hours”. It just gave me pause to think, no he’d only been gone 50 minutes but then I realized there was time spent getting the message to him. Anyway, just a comment.

    1. Yeah, I was figuring he wasn’t in Hell that long, maybe twenty minutes or so, which would be two hundred minutes or just short of three hours. Not over half an hour which would be three hundred minutes or five hours. So “hours” should cover it.

      As for the fixer, the idea is that Satan (or Mammon) says, “This needs to be fixed,” like an illegal Hellgate. Not giving all the information makes the job harder, as Max points out later. So Nick and Max are annoyed by the same thing: You expect me to fix your problems but you keep secrets from me that make the job harder.

  24. I went back to reread it and this time I realized that much as I loved the bit about Chthulu, it gives the impression that Nita believes in the Ancient ones. Perhaps you meant that. If not, if she is making a mental joke, it may undermine your goal of showing her resisting the supernatural.
    Also in Chapter 4 or 5 you have Nick open a gate to talk to Belia and then in the historical society when he is looking at the photo you say opening Hellgates is reserved for devils.

    One more thing–Nick tells Mort to give Forcas something for the pain. How would Mort know what works for Demon pain? Shouldn’t Nick tell him what to use?

      1. Oh, and is Max so devoted to Mammon that he would really get between him and a smite? I can see Max trying to get Mammon out of the way but not protecting him with his own body or whatever he has.

        1. It’s pretty much symbolic. If Max gets hit with the smite, Mammon standing right behind him would probably go, too.
          But yeah, Max would take a bullet for the boss. They’ve been together a long time.
          Of course, things can change . . .

    1. I think the Cthulu thing will read as a joke since he’s a literary figure and not part of mythology.

      Yeah, I have to add “and me” to the whole gate-opening thing. I need to think that through. Somewhere in there, I’ve got it that Satan gave him that power, that the Devils can give it to others, but I’m not sure where. Could be in Act 2. Yes, I have no idea where stuff is in this book anymore.

      If there is something that works for demon pain, what are the changes that Mort would have it? Or that Nick would know it, since he’s human and feeling no pain, being dead and all? I can put something in there that Mort asks him what that would be, but since Mort is an ME, I’m not all that sure he’d have anything for pain anyway. May end up just cutting that.

      1. For me, the pain thing works fine, because there’s quite a few things that seem similar between demons and humans. You’ve set up Dag and Rab as having sexual feelings, and they eat. The iron thing is different, but that’s in The Big Book of Fantasy that elves and things are allergic to iron. I’ve never read anywhere that demons are allergic to codeine or whatever Mort has in his bag.

        Also, Mort knows an awful lot about demons. I can see him taking a chance on a horse tranquilizer working on a demon.

      2. Yeah, that threw me. Not on first reading, but on second reading, I thought hold it, a medical examiner wouldn’t have morphine or anything like that.

      3. Animal tranquilizers. In a small town with large goats (are they fainting goats btw?) and random hellcats, I imagine both the cops & the coroner’s office carry trank guns.

  25. You have Nick being given the smite. I don’t recall Nick being given the hellgate–maybe it was cut or maybe I missed it.

    And may I say that I just noticed that there are Devils emeriti which I also love.

    1. Yeah, I have to clarify that and the smite. Essentially, Satan is tired and just turned the whole thing over to Nick awhile back. So Nick’s been Acting Devil for awhile. This is the stuff I know that I forget to put on the page. Argh.

  26. Okay, I just read through all the comments and made all the fixes including the typos so thank you very much. I’ll upload the fixed drafts shortly. Or tomorrow. Probably.

  27. Loving this!!! The only continuity thing I caught that I haven’t seen mentioned is:
    In Chapter Six, Nick starts out with a Black Visa Unlimited card, and then it morphs into a Black Visa Infinite card later in the chapter.

    I did stumble when Rab said “(Nick) is real serious about the law.” And Nita responded with, “Great, the Devil does vigilante.”

    Nick is definitely a vigilante, but don’t vigilantes operate outside the law? Maybe there is a nuance there (Nick’s obeying Hell law but Nita wouldn’t see it that way in Ch 6), and I suppose he could investigate without breaking human laws, but the immediate and overwhelming connotation (to me anyway) is that vigilantes and any justice they exact are outside the law. No biggie. Just made me scratch my head for second. FWIW.

    Happy antagonist writing!

  28. This is definitely tightened up a lot. I can’t wait for the rest.

    One thing that I don’t think anyone else mentioned: in chapter 1, Nick introduces Rab and Dag to Vinnie. But they’ve already been on the island a week and in the bar at least a day. Wouldn’t they have already met him?

    1. Rats.
      I decided they’d been on the island a week because I wanted Dag to have time to decide to stay. Grrrr.

  29. I just figured that in a small community like this ME is not a full time job and Mort is also a medical practitioner. But I can see that for purposes of your plot you might not want him filling that role.

    1. He’s also the coroner, but this is a vacation community, and in the active months, the island’s population explodes. So he’s actually full time. But I was thinking he’d probably work with the rescue squad, too, since he’s right there in the municipal building. So I can ease that in somewhere.

  30. What a writing lesson it has been following your drafts! This one is a huge improvement over the others. Everything is much tighter and the stakes, goals and characters are clear
    and compelling. Very smooth!

    Really amazing how it all clips along now. Thank you so much for sharing your work in progress. Can’t tell you how valuable it’s been to watch a master at work. I can’t wait for this book to come out and join the other Crusies on my shelves!

  31. So I mentioned elsewhere that I had handed the paper edit to the husband to read (he reads slow, it’s killing me waiting to ask him if he thinks it took Nita too long to make peace with the supernatural). But, it’s been fun seeing his responses to something that is fresh for him. We just got into an argument about Nick telling everyone that he’s the Devil. Husband thinks that it’s a terrible way to go about the investigation, telling people that, and dropping bombs right and left. I laughed and said that this had been discussed before, and it was necessary, cause he hadn’t had enough time to come up with something else, and it’s just the easiest option. For example, what else is he going to say about the 17 bullets that went through him? And my husband replies, “he could lie. He doesn’t have to tell the police he’s the Devil.” “But there were eyewitnesses! And him being the Devil gets Mort to call Nita!” “So? Just because there were eyewitnesses doesn’t mean he has to confirm. Mort might have called Nita just on the eyewitness accounts alone. By the next morning, everyone knows he’s the Devil.” (Keep in mind that he’s a public defender and they generally frown on their clients/people talking to the police, lol) “Um…” And that’s where we left it. Heh.

    1. There weren’t eye witnesses.
      I wonder if I should change that. It came from Lucifer so it’s a vestigial tail anyway. Must think about that.
      The truth is always the easiest way, but . . .

      1. ???‍♀️
        It definitely makes sense that he’d say it to Vinnie, what with him being drunk and nothing else penetrating.

        No eyewitnesses? Really? I could have sworn…maybe in another draft??

        And to Nita when he realizes he can’t really con her anymore…but I like how it works with Nita, him telling her the truth and her just resisting it.

        Also, if you take it away, it might cause a huge ripple effect. ?? Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned this.

        1. In an earlier draft, there was security tape footage. Might have to put that back. But I think your husband has a good point. It’s a vestigial tail. I think he’d tell her because she’s drunk, too, so it wouldn’t have to be put off that much longer. And Mort would call her anyway because the shooter is a demon.

          No, no, always tell me. Often times the things I argue against the most are the things that need changing. This is basically beta reader 101: tell me the stuff that in not working so it doesn’t get into print.

          1. Husband also says he’d fully believe it that people found out cause Rab ran his mouth


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