Why I Threw Out Everything I Wrote Yesterday

So many of you wrote in and feared for the lovers in Anita’s life. They are in peril. This promises to be a very hard book, but two days ago it wasn’t that kind of trauma for Anita and me. She did her duty. She stayed at her post. She made the hard call in the midst of death and violence. She was a good cop, a good soldier, a good . . . she did her duty. She did not panic. It ended up with her in the hospital and it cost her the life of someone she valued. It also cost the lives of good men and women who stood shoulder to shoulder against the great bad thing. There are losses that aren’t about romantic love. There are losses that are about a different kind of love. The people that will go into the bad place with you and not panic, but stay at your side shooting, fighting, risking it all for the goal, the objective, the mission, but there will always be moments that come down to just surviving. The men and women who stay with you through something like that – you love them. They love you. It’s not romantic love, but it is a bond that will make you answer a phone a decade later and say, “What do you need? What can I do?”
It’s also the kind of emotion that will make you not answer the phone ever. It is a level of pain and trauma that makes you want to forget. You don’t want to relive it. You don’t want to look at it, or talk about it. You want to move on; forget. sometimes in that effort to push it away you will destroy everything in your life to avoid the pain of it, the truth of it.
I have had the privilege of knowing men and women who have served their country, worn the badge, and come away with the real deal. I have dated, and been friends with men that are still haunted. I know when they share their stories with me in any way that it’s a privilege to be trusted with those moments of truth. a lot of them are told with laughter, but every once in awhile their eyes grow haunted and the pain comes too close to hide.
Anita had one of those moments and I spent the next twenty-four hours trying to ignore the pain. I was willing to blow up my imaginary world and throw all the hard work that Micah and Jean-Claude had done to bring together the preternatural community so that we could have a crisis and Anita and I wouldn’t have to deal with what was really bothering us. We were willing to ruin our relationship with Micah. Willing to ruin our relationship with other lovers. Anita and I tried to sink ourselves into sex. Nothing worked yesterday. Some of it was good pages, but really I was blowing up my world, destroying books and books of relationship building. It was my husband, Jon, who told me not to do some of it, that it made no sense. I was angry with him, though we didn’t fight, because I knew something was wrong with me and how I was reacting.
This morning when I woke up I understood what I’d been doing. I also knew what I needed to write today. I have to look at what happened in the shoot out. I have to let Anita feel the pain of what she had to do, and what it cost her and others. I was willing to blow up my world, Jean-Claude’s world, Micah’s, sacrifice Damian, hurt Nathaniel, or try to just skip to sex and comfort. I fought with myself all day and at midnight I called it, because I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I just knew it I wasn’t thinking right.
This morning it was so clear, even logical. I’ve spent twenty years writing Anita. I’ve interviewed people about what it feels like to take a life in the course of their duty. I have been blessed and trusted with the stories, without them this series would have been so much weaker. I wouldn’t have understood, and there are things that I will not understand because this is fiction for me. I’m not there. I’m not going through the real doors. I’m not having to look down the barrel of real guns and make choices that will be irrevocable. In real life there is no rewrite, more’s the pity.
Today Anita has to wake up in the hospital with that moment of confusion of “where am I, what happened,” and then the memory will return. She’ll remember the moment. The gun, sighting down the barrel, pulling the trigger and watching him drop. She would make the same choice, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be haunted by it. You can be right. You can be brave. It is some comfort, but in the end the people still died, and you couldn’t save them all, and sometimes killing the killer is just one more trauma.
There are losses that make you weep, that drive you from sleep to pace the darkened house, because sleep is full of dreams, nightmares, or sometimes it’s just too quiet and alone with our thoughts isn’t that great. I should have remembered that yesterday, but it took me time to work it out – to remember.
I’m just lucky that what I do is fiction. That I didn’t ruin my actual relationship with the man I love, and I have a chance to rewrite the fictional mistake. That I didn’t blow up the political structure of our country for real, but just on paper and I had a smart man to tell me, “This isn’t logical.” Thanks, my husband. Lucky for me, and for Anita, there is a do-over today. It won’t be pleasant, in fact it will be emotionally pretty horrible, but when she’s faced it, worked some of it through, then she will still have the loves of her life, the men she depends on, and the careful political structure that Jean-Claude and Micah have worked so hard to make will still be working. I am dreading writing this, but I feel strangely peaceful about it, too. This is what comes next and the days when Anita would destroy her love life, her friendships, to avoid the pain of what she’s had to do in her job are past. I’ve had better therapy than that, and so has she.
As I write today I will think of my friends who have done, and are doing, this for real. To the men and women who put on a uniform and do their duty, thank you for your service.

Posted by at 2:34:43 am on December 5, 2012

30 Responses to Why I Threw Out Everything I Wrote Yesterday

  1. Heather says:

    Thank you for pointing out that those moments are hard and those of us that lucky enough to get to hear the stories are blessed by those that trust us with their pain.

    • Julie Weaver says:

      I want to start by saying that I absolutely love your Anita Blake Books. I think you have in you the samedarkness I have in me.

      I have noticed a few errors (I can be a perfectionist). The largest error has been ongoing starting from Bullet on. In Bullet, and the subjequent books, you stated that Anita first slept with Sin because they were all mind fucked by Marmee Noir. That’s not true. In Skin Trade Marmee Noir came up with the idea, but never got to execute it. It was Vittorio who actually mind fucked Anita and the rest. He went to each Weretiger and either spoke in their head or touched them, etc. and they had to do what he wanted. Marmee Noie got blown up (although she came back in Bullet).

      There are some other fair sized errors. One of them is in The Harlequin. Anit is about to feed on the swan king, and the gards are trying to keep her from actually eating him, but to do that they risked the ardeur spreading to them. Sylvia left. She said to Anita. “No offence, you’re cute and all, but I don’t do women [paraphrasing].” All Sylvie does is women – she’s gay. I could name others… You’re not the only one. I could say the same about Kim Harrison as well (there are some errors in her books too). Still, you’re two of my favorite writers. Stephen King is another (I have not seen any errors there – and most of his books are connected – it’s really cook)

      It would be a good idea if someone who loves you Anita Blake books read them before they publish. Your editor can lookf for spelling, run-ons, etc. but a person to catch actual story errors wouldn’t be a bad idea.

      Either way – mistakes or no, I absolutely love your writing style and your characters. The thought of two men together really kind of grossed me out until I read your books. Not to mention Anita (like Buffy in the series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) is not too good to be true. She’s a real person, with faults and self doubts, just trying to do her best. I hope your not angry about my earlier comments. If so, I apologize – Bad Fan – No Cookie.

      • JuJulie Weaverlie Weaver says:

        Sorry about any spelling or grammar mistakes in the original note. I can’t see what I’m typing (it’s white letters on a white background).

        • Julie Weaver says:

          Sorry about any spelling or grammar mistakes in this note. I can’t see what I’m typing (it’s white letters on a white background). My original note dissapeared, som I’m writing it again.

          I want to start by saying I love your Anita Blake books. I love the way you write, and I love your characters. It seems as though you may have inside you the same darkness I have in me.

          I have noticed some pretty big errors, however (I know – I can be a perfectionist). I wasn’t planning on saying anything however one especially large mistake is being continued from book to book (although I don’t know what you can do about it now). Starting from Bullet on, Anita said that the first time she had sex with Sin is because they were all mind fucked by Marmee Noir. That’s just not true. Remember in “Skin Trade”, it was Marmee Noir who planned to do just that, but she was blown-up. It was Vittorio (aka Father of the Day, aka Father of Tigers), not Marmee Noir who actually executed the plan and benefited from it. He would go to each weretiger and touch them or just stand by them, and they had to do what he wanted. Remember Vittorio even said he took a peek. The extra power allowed him to get back a great many powers: staying awake all day, forcing other vampires awake, etc… It gave him enough power to take Max & Bibiana. Anyway, this inaccuracy contined on into the following book as well.

          There are other errors as well. In “The Harlequin” Anita was about to feed on the Swan King to keep everyone alive (her, Jean-Claude, Richard, all the little vampires). The guards were there to ensure Anita did not ACTUALLY eat the Swan King. In order to do this, they may have to touch her and allow the ardeau to spread to them. Sylvia leaves the room. She says, and I’m paraphrasing, “No offense, you’re cute and all Anita but I don’t do women.” That’s all Slyvia does – she’s gay!

          Edward is supposed to be so amazingly good – he never stops until the mark is dead. Yet one of those marks he was supposed to kill was Gabriel. Gabriel had unusually strange grey eyes, but Edward never caught on to who the masked man was in The Lunatic Cafe? (Reminder: the porn film where Alfred killed the girl, and then him & Gabriel ate her). Doesn’t fit what I know of Edward. Another mark he was supposed to kill was Jean Claude. Even though he helped Anita fight against the EarthMover and team (In “Circus of the Damned”), Edwards original job was to kill the current Master of the City (which was Jean Claude). There’s no way Edward didn’t figure out Jean-Claude was Master of the City after the big fight – why didn’t he kill him (although I’m very, very glad he didn’t)?

          There are other ones as well. i.e. Joseph the WereLion King’s wife was named Amber, then later changes to Julia. Could be a different wife, but didn’t sound like it. I think it might be a good idea if you found someone who loved your books to read through them specifically looking for information that does not match the previous books. Your editor could look for spelling, grammar, and everything else they normally do, but with all your books you need someone who really loves these characters to look for things that don’t match the past books. Just an idea. I hope I didn’t anger you by mentioning the past errors, if I did I apologize. Bad Fan. No cookie. I really do love Anita’s character. She’s not to good to be true, she’s just like the rest of us – selfish at times, quick tempered, dark, self-doubting, and just trying to do her best. When this series finally is completed I know I’m going to feel like I’ve lost one of my best friends. No more yearly visits, just looking at the mementos wishing I could enjoy one more new adventure with her, Jean-Claude, Edward – all of them.

          • Ashley says:

            I know this posting is old but I wanted to say THANK YOU for pointing out the Sylvie mistake, I am re-reading all the books since the newest one came out and when I read that line, “Sorry Anita, you’re cute but I don’t do girls.” I literally went, “YES YOU DO!” out loud. Also there was something else from the same book but I’m at work not following policy at 4:32 a.m., my mind is a little fuzzy. Anyway, thank you for mentioning the mistake because it bugged the hell out of my after reading it!

  2. Nicole Hill says:

    I have loved the world that you have created for Anita, but I have been getting mentally bogged down over the none progression of the lives you have placed in said world. The sex had become a (crutch?) if you will. I missed the crime solving that she use to do in the earlier books. having read your blog today I will say this I will check out the next Anita book it seems a deep change is about to rock the world of Anita. Thank you Ms. Hamilton I’m looking forward to the emotional onslaught.

  3. AmandaJane says:

    Please keep Zebrowski safe…

  4. crystal hill says:

    you are an amaizing writer i wish i had your inspiration thank you for the influence hopefully it will make me write a little better in the future

  5. Michela says:

    I enjoy your ability to create a dynamic world in which some things cannot be re-written. Writing in ways that are not conventionally safe pertains to why this series is as strong as it is and spans over so many books. Sometimes the writing process can seem scary even to a person who has written close to 30 books, but I appreciate your willingness to stick with the process no matter what emotions or problems it may evoke for you or Anita.

  6. Nicole says:

    It is hard on us when we get so invested in characters (reading them or writing them) that when they suffer a loss we are hurt with them. I am glad you were able to recover from said hurt enough to step back and rethink everything. Hope there aren’t too many more hurts like that for you, if only because stepping back like that can be hard to do multiple times.

    As ever, thank you for writing Anita!

  7. Nancy Barnett says:

    Ever since I picked up Circus of the Damned about 16 years ago, I have used Anita as a form of role model for things that she’s set out to do and gets done, along with her teamwork and self discipline. She is such a strong character, i can’t wait to see where she goes and what she does next.

  8. Cheyanna Honeycutt says:

    I’m very happy to see you clarify this! I was worried about her having another Haven type situation. I was re-reading Kiss the Dead today and saw that Anita was worried about another situation like that brewing with Asher or someone else she loved. I can only imagine the process you go through creating more and more of her world. As an avid Merry fan I was sad to see that her book was delayed, but happy to hear that your muse was helping pull you in the right direction. I love you works, and i’m more than happy to wait it out. You have built an amazing world inside and out for both women, and whatever direction you’re going i’m sure it won’t break our ladies anymore than they are capable of surviving. Thank you so much for what you do, the words you write, and the inspiration you motivate in others. Happy writings!

  9. Constance says:

    Being a writer myself. I know just how hard it can be to be true to the characters you write, and to express yourself in a way that validates you.

    That being said – It is great for me to see how you think outside of the pages of your books. (you know that ‘what was she thinking?’I appreciate you Sharing your thoughts, feelings and frustrations along the journey to the birth of your next book.

    By your doing so, you show me that the chaos I experience with my own writing all makes sense!

    Thanks for giving so much of yourself in your blog. I am always rooting for you that the next page will be just a bit easier to reveal itself to you than the last was.

  10. U says:

    Now I’m worried for Damian. Surely as one of Anita’s triumvarate, killing him. would kill Anita.

  11. Erin says:

    Your books helped me get through the roughest times of my life (after the military) as a woman as a veteran … as a person, I felt I had no one to turn to. I drank beers with friends on the porch and didn’t talk about the shitty we slogged through, we still don’t talk. But it is there, in our eyes. One look with my brothers and sister in arms over a beer can convey more than any words ever might. I have destroyed relationships and become a hermit or buried myself in work just to avoid dealing with the pain and anger of those hard times. Thank you for the rewrite, for those of us who have been through the fire and come out a bit burned, singed, and pissed off and those we sacrificed to our own emotional stability. At least Anita and her men get a happier ever after. :D

  12. Alice says:

    Thank you for this blog. I believe this is why I love your books – the emotion. When I pick up your books I cannot put them down – I’m in it for the whole ride. I find my self crying and laughing at different points and sometimes at the same time. Thank you for the amazing books and please know the struggles you go through well you write them is very much appreciated. I’ve read all your books multiple times, because they are worth that ride. Thank you for also letting us know that these emotions and situations have come from real stories people have chosen to share with you. The front lines weather at home or abroad is a situation that is usually never really thought about unless you have family or friends in that situation. e

  13. Melanie says:

    Thank you for your willingness to share your process and yourself with us. It means more than I can say to read your words as I try to write.

  14. Barb Turner says:

    sounds like you need a hug, not that it will fix anything…but just tht connection after something so traumatic

  15. Greg D'Orazio says:

    Ugh, sometimes I wish there were dozens of you so we could have more books more often. This blog just makes me want the new book so bad. Now I keep wondering exactly what you are talking about and if I am going to be able to recognize this when I am actually reading the books. When I was reading Kiss the Dead, I realized that for once Anita was actually happy. On one hand, it made me feel all gushy inside. So happy to see Anita really growing up and finding her happiness in the world. After all. These books I feel like Anita is a good friend of mine, and I love to see my friends happy. On the other hand, it made me worried that this could end up like Merry. What if Anita’s happiness prevents you from writing the necessary conflict for the series. It sucks, but characters need lots of conflict to keep a story going, especially a story like hers. So, I’m hoping that maybe whatever it is you are talking aboutre might add some fresh conflict to keep Anita alive for you and us. So, if my spelling and grammar are terrible, sorry. For some reason, as I am typing this the letters aren’t showing up on my phone. So I am just trusting that I’m actually typing. Haha! I really hope so, because if not that was a lot of typing for no reason.

  16. Someone says:

    I am excited and scared to see what happen’s all at once in the new book coming out. I have always loved your books – even the sex parts. People who say that it is being used as a crutch just have not taken the time to read your books as carefully as they should. when they read our books they should take the time to pause , think and digest it. than you will understand the emotional and mental depth of every scene, plot or act. I get every nuance – i have read, re-read and read again, – every Anita Blake novel that has as been released so far.

  17. Nicole says:

    Oh my Please tell you didn’t kill Edward!??

  18. Barbara says:

    I’ve been lax on following your blog, life gets in the way at times. You and I are the same age and I too have come away with my own scars and am still fighting some old battles. The fantasy world you create with Anita, and also Merry, helps me get through my own reality. Althou I’m not the best at conveying my thoughts I just want to say thank you. I look forward to the stories tcoming in the future. And PLEASE don’t forget about Merry. I miss her.

  19. C. L. Parson says:

    It is wonderful that she has grown past self-sabotage to detract from what really ails her. Too often in life do partners take out their grief on each other rather than face the issue. Anita has helped me learn how to acknowledge the pain without redirecting it at the people I love most.

  20. R. D. Christman says:

    Maybe she should start a Alternate Time Line Anita Blake Series. She could go wild and kill people, and do whatever she likes. She can continue the normal series. She could kill off characters in one, and keep her characters in another. Could be fun writing two different kinds of books with the same characters.

    Maybe Anita wakes up in a Hospital bed. Maybe she was shot in the head, and lived. It was a mind shattering experience. She starts having vivid dreams about what could have happened. Every time she goes to sleep, she’s back in this other world living day by day. Living with the destruction of her world. While sleeping, she doesn’t realize this isn’t real. She truly believes that this is her real life. She’s working hard on trying to put her life back together. Living one day at a time. When she wakes she may or may not remember her dreams. Or maybe she could learned things in her dream life that could help save lives in her real life. Sorta of like seeing the future.

    That way she really wouldn’t be killing off any characters, and writing what could have been.

    I don’t want to kill off anyone either. It seems things are building up, the power structurer is being built. I want to see what comes from that.

    I don’t think killing off your characters makes you a better writer. There are a lot of different things you can do that could make you a better writer, death doesn’t have to be a part of it.

    Really looking forward to the next book.

  21. nova says:

    where’s merry?! I miss her like crazy!maybe you could release the title of the next book….?

  22. Frances says:

    I jumped about a foot when I read Daimians name. Even though you’d already said that you’d tosed that partt it scared me.
    And than you said Nathanial…… It’s Fiction. It’s Fiction. It’s Fiction. It didn’t happen. There isn’t acctually a knife stabbing into my gut. Good.

  23. Amy says:

    I understand what it can be to feel conflicted about the lives of your characters. I have been a GM in several role playing games, with different levels of emotional investment in both player characters, and NPCs. To heighten realism in fiction, you weave in as much truth and reality into the very human (and I say that with big ass air quotes) interactions as you possibly can… And the things we make ourselves feel for the purpose of that realism can have very real consequences. This conundrum can take on a whole new dimention when your character is a full blown aspect of self. You can become deeply stressed by the desire to protect a loved one, and the simultaneous desire to make a good, captivating story. Bad things Happen in Good stories.

  24. Visa says:

    This is why I love your books.

  25. Georgeann says:

    Great post, really enjoyed it!
    — Georgeann


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