We’re not supposed to have favorites. Like, kids. I’m a mom and I’m not supposed to have a favorite kid. And I don’t. I might have a favorite kid on one day, and then another day it’s another kid. Maybe the kid who makes me coffee in the middle of the day because he notices I’m dragging, or the one who calls me just to say hello, or the one who plops down on my office couch and spontaneously tells me about his day without me having to drag it out of him … yeah, sometimes I have a favorite, but it’s short-lived, because I love them all.
Ditto with books. I love all my books — and hate them — equally. Such is the writer’s life. We have highs and lows. We usually love our book when we start it. It’s new, it’s exciting, it’s fresh.
Then we hate it. We get stuck, our characters don’t cooperate, we have no idea who the killer is or how to catch them or if they even should be caught because after all they killed a child rapist and shouldn’t all child rapists be dead?
Then we love it because we type THE END and it’s done. It’s now our favorite book of all time because it’s DONE. It’s OVER and we get to start something new!
Then we get revisions and we think, “Damn, we really suck. We can’t write.” But we muddle through and think, okay, maybe this doesn’t suck as much as we think. But we are so damn tired of reading and reading and rewriting and rewriting and cutting and slicing and adding and subtracting … we want it to just be DONE.
Then a couple months pass and suddenly the page proofs are on our desk and we can sit down and give the book one final proofread. And that’s when it’s real. “Did I write this? This isn’t half-bad. It’s actually pretty good. In fact, I really like it. Except, why I use the word ‘retribution’ three times in one paragraph AND NOT CATCH IT THE FIRST HUNDRED TWENTY SIX TIMES I READ IT!”
Yes, this is the writer’s life.