Sunday: Got going and did 8K on Gasp (then Quake).

Monday: Managed four sessions, but not quite 8K. I was having issues figuring out how the book was going to end.

Tuesday: Managed two sessions before it became apparent that I was going to have to figure out how the stupid book ended. And I had no freaking clue. I googled things, thought about it, went and taught the last Creative Writing class, came home, and HAD IT. Then I did two more sessions or so and got the first draft done.

Wednesday: Reread the whole book, making comments and notes. It was pretty clean in terms of structure. I thought it worked pretty well. Issues with dropbox and scrivener meant that I lost several hours in a terror, thinking that I had lost about five scenes that I wrote due to conflicting copies on different computers. But then I figured it out and magically the five lost scenes appeared in my document.

Thursday: I really buckled down and fixed all the comments. Usually, I think this takes more than a day, but now I realize it really doesn’t. I just HATE this part. It’s my least favorite part of writing. Anyway, I knuckled down and forced myself. I had to spend a bunch of time looking up things about certain guns and stuff. (Boring.) I gave the online thesaurus a workout. I had to comb the other books in the series to find out names of places and characters and other crap. And I finished the second run.

So… it’s now ready for copy-editing, which will commence tomorrow. I considered not taking my weekend and diving into it, but I decided a couple days away would help me to get a wee bit of distance from the story. Also, I think I need to stop running myself ridiculously ragged. I wrote this book in twelve working days, and I really kicked my carpal tunnel into high gear. Bad Valerie. *frown* Anyway, it is good to take time off. Even if today I worked on covers and make a text trailer and did research for my next book and… didn’t really take the day off. But I did take a break from that book. Which may have been stupid, because god knows I need money as soon as possible.

I really hope people buy this book.

*Fingers crossed*

Okay, so about that title change. Well, you may remember that I was going on and on about The Stanley Parable and how it was making me think about tragedies. It seemed to me that the creators of The Stanley Parable and of satires in general were being just a bit hypocritical. Like, how do you make a game that’s all about making fun of game culture without actually liking games enough to make fun of them? So if the point of The Stanley Parable is, “Don’t play video games,” then that’s kind of dumb, right, because in order to make that point, the creators spent hours and hours crafting a video game, and they spoof games enough that they obviously play games. So, it kind of pissed me off. Because I was like, “I spent hours doing this only for you to tell me that I wasted hours of my life.”

And I started thinking, “Okay, so if I make Jason and Azazel completely fall apart and totally descend into evil madness, and then I turn around and point at the reader and show them that they’ve been following around a pair of nasty killing machines for nine books and try to make the case that Jason and Azazel are just bad people that don’t deserve happiness,” well then I’m being a hypocrite.

Because if I didn’t like these characters, and if I weren’t utterly intrigued by everything they’ve done, I wouldn’t have written nine books about them, you know? So, I ended up writing a different book than I was going to write originally. Jason and Azazel didn’t become completely evil. They stayed the same that they’ve been the whole nine books. Morally-iffy people who do bad things but who are ultimately meant to be rooted for.

And that’s why the title isn’t Quake anymore. Because Quake was meant to imply that there was destruction and that everything crumbled (which, I mean, is really where I was writing to in Falter, but whatever.) Gasp, on the other hand, is kind of sexy, but it can also be like a “last gasp” which is appropriate thematically and also cause it’s the last book. So, I changed it because it fit the book better.

Ultimately, in regards to my worries about the moral message of the book, I’d like to say this.

I think what may be closer to what I was always trying to say is that the violence in the book is meant to be a metaphor for the more-pedestrian things that guys do it relationships that make it hard to love them. What this series is ultimately about is this: How much is love worth? How far can your lover go before you abandon him? What does it mean to stay in love through hardship and heartbreak and betrayal? How does loving a difficult person change you?

Frankly, those are the kinds of questions about love that interest me. I think happily-ever-after is a myth. I think real relationships are hard. I’ve never dated a man who killed, but I think I write about that so much because, for me, it’s an extreme so big that it takes regular relationship issues into fantasy land, and it allows me to play with them. Because if the book were actually about how Jason leaves his dirty towels on the floor or refuses to take his dishes in to the sink or the way he gets whiny and insecure when he’s drunk, well… that would be boring. The thing is, though, after years and years and years of picking up dirty towels, you sometimes start to feel like he IS killing people. Haven’t you asked him nicely to STOP DOING THAT a thousand times? Does he ever listen? ARGH.

All right, well, there you have it. Should be only a few days until Gasp is published and for sale. If you’re not signed up for my email list, do it now. (upper right hand corner) Subscribers always find out first!!