Can you come up with a better line?

I’m in the never-ending process of editing. Which, par for the course, was supposed to be done two weeks ago. Sigh. Anyway, one of the things on the editing list is a rework (probably) of one of the jokes. Two beta readers mentioned that they didn’t think it was funny. (Although when I showed it to my humor writing friend, Susan Curtis–who is hilarious–she thought it was fine. So maybe you just have to have a quirky sense of humor. I don’t know. Humor is hard to judge because it’s so subjective.) I’m putting it out there to you all. In this scene, Bess and Ryker have picked up Tori in the van and brought her to the rest of the Slayers who have just boarded a plane.


“I told you Bess wouldn’t crash the van,” Willow said to Rosa. “They’re all in one piece.”

Ryker dropped into a seat behind them. “We would have been here faster if Bess had let me drive.”

Bess sent him a patient smile. “You’re not allowed to drive the van again until you understand the difference between the beltway and a Nascar racetrack.”

“I understand the difference,” he said with mock offense. “One has more traffic to get around.”

Rosa shook her head at him. She was petite with pretty, doll-like features and dark brown hair that hung loose at her shoulders. She was also the gentlest of the group and had the habit of worrying about the rest of them. “You know,” she said directing her gaze to Ryker, “you won’t be much help to the rest of us if you’re in a body cast.”

Willow nodded in agreement. “And if you do something stupid that puts you in one, I’ll be the first to sign your cast.” She made the shape of name tag on her chest. “Hello, my name is: Can’t-Be-Trusted-With-Four-Wheel-Drive.”

Willow was Ryker’s cousin and had no problem ribbing him. Which, Tori decided, partially made up for the way the rest of the girls acted all deferential and flirty around him.


Okay, Janette here again. The lines that my beta readers didn’t like were: I’ll be the first to sign your cast.” She made the shape of name tag on her chest. “Hello, my name is: Can’t-Be-Trusted-With-Four-Wheel-Drive.”

One beta reader suggested either:  “You won’t be much help to us in a body cast, although it may improve your looks.” Or something about how she’s not going to be the one to fetch him things if he gets in a cast.

Angela Fox, who hasn’t beta read the book, but whom is naturally snarky so I asked if she could think of a better line, said, “But if you end up in a body cast, we can use you as a battering ram. Hey, finally a team player!”

So readers, any of those? Something different? Cast your vote or make a comment.



  1. Akilah
    April 5, 2016 at 6:49 am

    I think either of those work, and I do like them better than the initial line.

  2. Tiana Smith
    April 5, 2016 at 7:56 am

    I like any of those other options better than the original line. But that’s kind of obvious considering who that beta reader was … 😉

  3. Lexi Revellian
    April 5, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Someone has to say it: the beta reader’s suggestion is lame (sorry, Tiana). Your snarky friend’s is good, as is your original version.

  4. Holly
    April 5, 2016 at 11:51 am

    I like the original! I think it’s funny. Though the battering ram rewrite made me chuckle, too.

  5. Joan
    April 5, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Battering ram. That’s a good one. You might also consider “Here’s your sign” on the forhead instead of a nametag.

  6. Cindy
    April 5, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Battering ram line is funny

  7. Jennifer Page
    April 5, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    I like the original.

  8. Sara
    April 6, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    What if the nametag said, “The New Battering Ram”, after you mention the cast?

  9. heather
    April 7, 2016 at 8:17 am

    I vote for the battering ram (so funny!), but I like your line a lot too.

  10. Andrea
    April 8, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I like either your original line or the body cast line. 🙂

  11. Emily
    April 9, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    I like the fits the characters…but the battering ram was a close second

  12. Z
    April 10, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Okay, this scene is just funny to me. Period haha. But maybe the name tag saying, “Can’t be trusted with anything on wheels”? four wheel drive was just a little too specific? Personally, i don’t trust any teenage boy on wheels. As for the other two suggestions people made, i like em. the first one was cheesy, but i don’t think that’s a bad thing. But maybe having a different character saying it. Rosa saying it just seems too much shocking for her character. Unless you actually added the shocked reaction from the rest. I could see Bess saying it even though she kinda makes those comments about liking boys. the only reason she would say it could be because the two had a disagreement. They all sound funny to me though

  13. Abigail
    April 11, 2016 at 9:52 am

    I like “You won’t be much help to us in a body cast, although it may improve your looks.” Think it would hit him harder.

  14. Anne
    April 13, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Instead of a nametag, she could sign it, “Willow told me this would happen one day”

    • Janette Rallison
      April 14, 2016 at 3:31 am

      Oh, I like it! Good job.

  15. Chelsea
    April 18, 2016 at 2:42 am

    Maybe something like “Mr. I-forgot-where-the-brake-is” for the nametag. Or there’s always the classic “Lead foot” nickname for a crazy driver. I like the improving your looks line, but I could also see Willow saying something like “Although we could always use you as dragon bait. That way you might actually make our job easier for once.”

  16. Shani Wheeler
    April 18, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    I like both of the beta reader’s jokes better than the original

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