Behind the Book – CROAK, Chapter #5


Behind the Book is an ongoing series wherein I tackle a new chapter of Croak each week and give you all of the secret, behind-the-scenes tidbits and trivia that went into writing it. For an archive of past chapters, click here. Enjoy!

Chapter 5: The Toileting

    • My copyeditor (whose name is Maxine and is lovely) originally corrected the text by putting the “family size bag of Doritos” in lowercase, which presented me with the unique, somewhat humiliating occasion to pipe up and say, actually, no, I know from experience that it should be capitalized. We must give the Family Size bag of Doritos the respect it deserves.
    • The first meeting of Driggs and Lex was not originally the Embarassmentpalooza of Lex barging in on him in the bathroom. In earlier drafts, he had let loose with a drum solo in the middle of the night, and she angrily pounded down the hall to find out who had woken her up. But it seemed kind of mean-spirited for him to do that, especially when he knew that a new houseguest had arrived, so I switched it over to toilet-related theatrics instead. Always a good move.
    • I have learned that it is somewhat common for Siberian Huskies to have one brown eye and one blue eye (a condition, by the way, known as heterochromia iridum). Whenever I see one, regardless of the situation or how crazy its owner may think I am, I always point and say, “Driggs dog!”
    • I don’t know what Lex did to reduce the entire varsity hockey team to a chorus of high-pitched, hiccuppy sobs, but I have to imagine it involved jockstrap theft.
    • It was once suggested to me that I change Driggs’s name. I did not do so, because that is his name.
    • “Lex watched him walk down the hallway and into the room with The Who poster.” was a sentence that caused me much consternation, because it really should be “the The Who poster”, but that also sounds kind of ridiculous. Editor Julie made the call, and that is what editors are for.
    • The perfect casting for the confused, sunburned tourist from Texas would be, of course, Buddy Garrity from Friday Night Lights.
    • I went to Australia for my study abroad semester in college, and fell head over didgeridoo in love with ghost gum trees, so much so that I knew I needed to include one in the book. It just fit so perfectly, with its the name, its skeletal-hand quality, the creepiness.
    • How did Croak come to possess a tree that’s native to Australia, you may ask? Here’s the explanation that ended up getting cut: it was part of a sister-city tree-exchange thing with the Grim town of Perish in Australia, though not one that was terribly successful; Uncle Mort said “I doubt our sugar maple is faring any better down there.”
    • I once saw a photography exhibit where there was a piece featuring a girl that looked exactly like I had pictured Zara in my head (with almost silvery hair, too). It was really eerie.

Got any questions about Chapter 5? Post them below!



    • I would like to think that he special ordered it from one of the shopkeepers in town. Probably Dora–she seems like she’d be a perfect partner in crime. Except for the Titanic poster, which he clearly already owned. :)

    • I have no idea, to be honest. It just sounded right. I have, however, since seen Driggs as a street name in Brooklyn, and that displeased me because I like to think I thought of it first. Bite me, Brooklyn.

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