I've gone as far as gleefully posting a picture of me in a red pioneer neckerchief (with the typical pioneer salute), a bra, a tutu, and holding a shot of vodka, I am THAT happy to be done with this draft. This book has been giving me nightmares. When I started out writing it, I loved it. Slowly, especially after completing the 1st draft, I started hating it. By the end of the 2nd draft I hated it so much, I wanted to quit writing it and quit writing in general. Then, again, slowly, while writing the 3rd draft, I fell in love with it again. And! Yesterday! I! Have! Finished it!!!
Half of the book is gone. Can you believe it? Both 1st and 2nd drafts were close to 120K words (118K and 117K, respectively). By contrast, the 3rd draft is only 61K words. I cut out 50% of the bullshit and, frankly, to those of you who beta read the first two drafts, how did you guys do it?? I look at them now, and go, YUK. Did I really write this shit? Ugh. Interesting, right? Because while I'm in the middle of writing, I don't actually see how yucky it is. It takes time for me to distance myself from the story emotionally to see the writing itself. Hence, multiple drafts.
Now, if you have nothing else to do with your time, you can beta read the 3rd draft. CLICK HERE TO GET THE PDF. Just make sure you send me your feedback by the end of next week at the latest, so I can incorporate it. Okay? Okay? If you do, you will be the most awesome person in the world. I can send you a card declaring you such, let me know. I will kiss it, too. A word of caution, though. Before you commit to it, know that it's bloody and dark, and read the ranting below.
My first trilogy, SIREN SUICIDES, was a painful book to write. It's a great read for those who are going through the same shit I was going through, but it's not a great read for those who are not in that place at the moment. Plus, my language there is still, how to say it tactfully, a bit too purple and undisciplined. My characters are a bit flat, and the dialogue is mostly comprised of mutual recriminations and slanging matches with lots of "fuck this" and "fuck that" in it. I do hope that one day I will manage to write a book that is irreproachable. One day. Anyway.
On to ROSEHEAD. I had fun writing ROSEHEAD, and it shows. People read it, people like it. People also read SIREN SUICIDES and like it too, but I think ROSEHEAD is better. That is my opinion, of course, but here is the deal. I wrote it because I wanted to write it and I wanted to have fun. When I wrote my first trilogy, I wrote it because I wanted to get rid of the pain. I shall learn in the future what all of this means, writing something because it's wanting to get out of you, or writing for the fun of it.
Meanwhile, back to IRKADURA. I wrote it because I got excited after talking my awesome mentor and awesome thriller writer Michael Gruber and telling him my life story. He listened and suggested I write it into a novel. I did. Well, almost (have to polish this last draft before sending it to my editor). What I learned though, in the process of writing it, is that I'm not ready yet to go into my past again. I want to rest from all that ugly Soviet stuff for a bit. I want to write silly books, funny books, books about talking cats, or books about serial killers with a sense of humor. So, in a nutshell, I want to write dark hilarity with imperfect characters that are pesky and adorable and impetuous and sarcastic and passionate and silly and...oh, I can keep going on and on. Same with reading. I want to read books in the same realm. But, like I said, I grew to love IRKADURA. I think it's my best writing yet. It taught me that I can write anything. Yes, it may be painful and tedious and might make me feel like I'm scraping a fork on a glass. Still, I can do it.
This is to tell you, those of you who are doubting yourselves, you know who you are, you write me emails about this all the time, you send me messages. You ask me, how do you keep going, when you think there is no point? There is a point. And that is, no matter how you feel about the book you're writing, finish it. Finish it. FINISH IT. Please.
You will learn more from finishing a book than from abandoning it.
Well, what a rant. I fucking yakked your ears off. Here it is again. If you have nothing to do with yourself this week than reading my draft and telling me how much I suck, I'M ALL EARS. And I'm so excited to be done with this and start CORNERS, like I ate awhole bowl of happiness. So there.
Much love, as always. And thank you. And I love you. And all that shit.