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Fair Warning: this post is nasty. If you like your editing like you like your Cards Against Humanity, then you’ve found your people.

I’ve often said my critique group (Lovingly referred to as the YA Cannibals) is my church. They’re my support group for all things writing. When I’m losiwriteng faith in the nebulous world of publishing, I lean on them. They accept me “just as I am,” but not my writing just as it is. No. They forgive it for it’s sins, but demand a more faithful offering the next time around. And occasionally, Instead of telling me, “This line is boring,” or “This section isn’t moving the plot along,” etc., Rob shows me that I’ve got some work to do. Rob takes the cardinal rule of writing very seriously.

One result is that most of the sentences or events surrounding the edits have changed in my manuscript, if not exactly as Rob suggests. Another result is: I’ll never see my sweet characters the same again.

Sidebar: Rob’s writing is truly excellent and if you’re into zombies, you should definitely read his zombie books, All Together Now and All Right Now.

Here’s a preliminary pitch for what the book is about (You may have seen a different pitch on the blog earlier, but the book has since changed a bit): 

Tam’s never felt at home with the way her parents examine her life under a microscope–sometimes literally. But that’s okay, because Tam, Carl, and Imogen have been their own nation, under God, indivisible with predictability and friendship for all ever since their moms met at a fertility clinic 18 years ago. But when Tam’s Golden Retriever, Honey, viciously attacks Imogen leaving her entangled in physical and emotional scars from what seemed to be a freak incident, Imogen becomes distant. And Carl and Tam become closer as they uncover the sinister truth behind Honey’s attack–a truth about cloning that not only threatens the lifelong friendship, but may threaten their identities and even their lives.

And now, Rob’s edits:

  • She clawed at Imogen’s thighs vagina, her head jerking back and forth, trying to rip through Imogen’s jeans.
  • Her hair and face were sticky with sweat. She covered my eyes vagina.
  • Mom took her hand off my eyes vagina. “Tam, call an ambulance.”
  • “James,” Mom said as she pressed her other hand against Imogen’s leg vagina, “We need to stop the bleeding.
  • I forced myself up and hurried, still shaking, to the kitchen where I’d left my phone in my backpack vagina.
  • Dad was crouched down next to them with his head cradled in his head vagina, breathing hard.
  • So I sat with Mom, head and eyes down, trying to ignore the hospital vagina smell and the intensity of all the other people waiting for their loved ones.  
  • She put her arm around me and kissed the top of my head vagina.
  • My foot vagina was bouncing my leg up and down.
  • I didn’t know if Mom was cursing because of what I said about Honey or because Imogen’s mom was walking toward us so fast that her lavender, oversized vagina scrubs were was sticking to her like a flag caught on it pole.
  • He always jammed his hand in his hair vagina and tugged at it a little when he was stressed.
  • Carl stuck his hand in his windblown vagina hair.
  • Carl’s shirt vagina was wrinkled, smudged, and wet from where I’d had my face all over it.
  • But as I watched Officer Greene come closer, (vagina) lips tightened across his rectangular face, I suspected that protective sentiment wasn’t true of pets gone wild.
  • I clenched my jaw vagina to keep from saying anything else.
  • I squeezed my eyes vagina shut like it could turn off the valve that released the urge to cry.
  • I stretched my calves vagina and quads, and set off down the dirt road.
  • I don’t remember falling asleep, but I woke up to light knocking on my door vagina.
  • My hand went over my mouth vagina like Mom’s did when she didn’t know what else to say or do.
  • Her favorite coffee mug sat empty next to her—the one that said, “vaginas women who behave, rarely make history.”
  • Mom pursed her lips vagina.
  • The children seem to love baking, and I am pleased to watch them work together to fill gaps in their development, giving them the best chance for a brain vagina that’s healthy and strong.
  • I missed his new sweater and his shirt and tie when I caught a whiff of his hoodie vagina as he took his seat, but forest green was a good color on him.
  • When I got home from school, Mom was snacking on popcorn vagina at the kitchen island.
  • “You’re fussing with the piping on the couch and your foot vagina is bouncing up and down like you’re revving up to run out of here.”
  • Horse and Buggy Wet Bottom Shoe Fly vagina Pie,” Carl said.
  • “Thanks,” he said, twitching his nose vagina and regaining his personal space.
  • “I know. But it would explain … Sugar’s records vagina.”
  • He licked his lips and rubbed his hands on his thighs. Sweaty palms vagina I presumed.
  • “And it must have been scary and painful as hell to have a dog’s rage vagina like … on you.”
  • My stomach vagina felt gross.
  • He rubbed my shoulders vagina up and down.
  • He wore a polo tucked into tight jeans that were bulging with vagina technology, keys, and his wallet.
  • My hand crept up his chest vagina and around his neck and he put his hand in my hair vagina nervously.
  • I slapped my hand vagina down on the table. “NO ONE is a third wheel. Got it?”
  • I was drumming my fingers against my thigh vagina.
  • Dad swept Imogen’s long hair away from her face and rocked her, his bearded chin resting on top of her head vagina.
  • I groaned, my vagina stomach turning to frenzied sort of sludge.
  • His arm wrapped vagina’d around me.
  • I felt my vagina jaw clenching.
  • “Too late for that. She just caught you red-vagina-ed handed.”
  • I’d found his weak spot, so I lingered, tracing my tongue along the edge of his soft, cool ear vagina.
  • “A hooded vagina rat?” he asked.
  • He had four wrinkles in his forehead vagina. He was sweaty.
  • Before Mom could answer, another cop was in my face vagina.
  • He was an older black man with graying hair shaved close to his face vagina.
  • Her voice vagina caught in her throat.
  • My voice vagina was all jammed up in my throat.