Did Yuki really share ALL of this writing with Inari as it was written?
As you may or may not have read in my book, “How to Sacrifice Your Lover”, it is revealed early on that Yuki is sharing the book with Inari as it is written, chapter by chapter. But why would Yuki share things with Inari that were critical of her? Did Yuki really share all of these things?
Well… whereas Yuki was hungry for for Inari to understand him completely, and he was brutally and abnormally honest with her about many things that he should have “played close to his chest”… it is carefully noted that Yuki only shared the first drafts of his book with Inari… and this book was revised hundreds, possibly thousands of times before it was published, and underwent thousands of hours of revisions long after the events of the epilogue. So the final book was quite different than the original book. But as Yuki notes in the “homestretch” of the book, Yuki documents that the book is “over 100,000 words” by that time, a number that was never edited. The complete first draft of the book clocked in at around 136,000 words, all of which was shared with Inari. The currently published version is over 150,000 words and the in-progress 2022 revision (unpublished) is currently sitting at 151,636 words.
Overall, how did the original drafts of this book differ from the “final” form?
Well… in a nutshell, whereas the original draft was still very blunt and honest, it took on a form more akin to a “persuasive thesis” and read more like a personal diary or a “Live Journal” shared with friends. It, after-all, was branded as a massive love-letter to Inari. Yuki was not shy about letting Inari know how she confused him… how she emotionally tormented him… and how he felt when she looked into his eyes, but the original drafts definitely were lacking the earliest doubts about darkness within Inari. In fact, some of the doubts Yuki wrote about were removed from the original draft just before they were sent to Inari and were later added upon later ruminations.
This is not to say that there were never any doubts expressed to Inari in the original draft…. there were many. Yuki was bold in being honest with her, as Inari inspired complete honesty in him (while offering little honesty herself). All of the major darker moments made it into the original draft… which included talks and thoughts about “the goodbye dance”, rumors exchanged between Yuki and Aurthur…. the WTF moments at the Fashion Show and Amusement Park… the “spider walk”… Yuki’s impressions of Inari and Barry’s relationship… His bewilderment of her living situation.
Missing and blunted from the original draft were many psychological observations surrounding Borderline Personality Disorder, a condition that Yuki was naive to at the time. Later revisions painted bolder strokes around some of Inari’s more subtle behaviors that would indicate borderline personality without altering the naiveté of Yuki as a character.
Observations of Inari’s tendency to make little subtle statements that didn’t really “add up” were missing from the original, as Yuki would not want to portray Inari as a “liar”. For example, the original draft quotes Inari as saying that “Hard Mondays” was her “favorite place to be”. To this Yuki replies “I can’t believe I’ve never met you before.”
The original draft contained this line, but did not paint bold strokes around it…. it left out Yuki’s pondering of how Yuki, being a staunch regular of the club, had never observed Inari there, let alone met her. Yuki lets the little white lie slide because he is completely emotionally smitten by her, ignoring the fact that it would have been completely impossible for Yuki to have not seen Inari at the club for the many Years he had been a regular if it were actually her “favorite place to be”. The original draft didn’t question it so much, but still contained the line “I can’t believe I have never met you before.” If Inari read that line, she might have understood the significance of including it between the lines, but the extra dwelling was added in later. Even if the first draft didn’t ponder the idea as much, I assure you, that in-real-life, Yuki spent much time pondering why she said such a thing to him that was clearly untrue. So much of the process of revision involved ensuring that every thought and feeling and observation I could remember about all these events was thoroughly expressed.
Inari’s overall exaggerating was later added as part of creating a more-complete picture of her personality. You could argue that she told little lies first in order to see if she could get away with the bigger lies.. as accepting her lies was, in effect, a test of loyalty, and she could never trust a person who wouldn’t accept her lies.
In effect the original draft was written from the perspective of a disciple who was still very much “gaslit into the cult”.
The later drafts were edited from the perspective of a defector, excommunicated, while also trying to not deviate from the truth of the moment. I was careful not to allow Yuki’s character to be edited “so much” to make him less naïve… as Yuki’s naiveté was a big part of what allowed him to get trapped… as Inari’s twisted psychology, and twisted practice and definition of “love” was a completely new experience for him. To make him self-aware would destroy his whole character.
The 2021 revisions of HTSYL were largely
- Dialogue Recreations for the purpose of character development. The original version was full of lots of paragraphs written like “he said this… they talked about that…” with only “key moments” turned into dialogue. In order to make it feel like an actual story though, I had to put actual words into the mouths of the characters for the more mundane parts of their development… this was particularly challenging at times and the unpublished 2022 revision I am working on takes this a step further with simple banter intended to breathe a little more life and personality into the characters. For example, I recently expanded on banter between Inari and Jin about his karate studies and how she would poke fun at him for things she thought he lied about.
- Observations of psychology were painted with bolder strokes. The observations may have been always there, but needed to be emphasized. There were lots of observations that were documented with only a line of two of text, but only realized as key and important observations 10 years later…. without overtly signaling those observations as psychologically significant, I revised those portions of the book to give them deserved presence in the eyes of the reader as I was worried they might just gloss over some really important observations.
- Subtle observations/doubts that, whereas, were originally observed and felt and pondered momentarily, were left out because they might have painted Inari as fallible…. Yuki truly believed Inari to be Infallible… and his omissions of these observations in the original drafts would be because Yuki would have worried that expressing doubts about her would cause her to think that he was disloyal. Regardless of whether those doubts were there… Yuki was absolutely a “believer” in Inari… and sought to prove his devotion to her, eventually coming to live by Inari’s standards of what was normal, appropriate, and “reality”. These doubts, although observed… like a Christian who doubts his/her faith, were not communicated to Inari, largely.
- Foreshadowing is something I tried to feverishly avoid… but I couldn’t help myself to foreshadow what was coming up later in the story in just two instances that I can think of. I did this because I wanted the reader to “be on the lookout” for signals coming up in the book… and feared that the reader might get bored with the story if they simply read the text without specifically having a mission of what to look for in the book. “What is perception if your lights are dimmed, yet you are told that you are blind, rather than in-the-dark?” is a key sentence from chapter 0 [sic]. I wanted the reader to be on the lookout, very specifically, for this spooky practice of “rewriting realities”, particularly in homage to the original play-turned-film “gaslight”… where a husband convinces his wife that she is crazy in order to gain control over her.
It was easy for Inari to use emotional connection to rewrite Yuki’s standards of “normal” and even rewrite what he perceived to be as “fact”. Yuki was an INFJ-T who was on a mission to bring love to someone who deserved it, and to prove that fairy-tales and fairy-tale romance were real and could be found within the sea of perverts and toxically vain goth kids he was swimming in. When he met Inari, he truly believed he had found what he was looking for, and to his surprise, rather than flat-out rejecting him as so many others would have done to an insecure, gender-confused, nerd, Inari stared into his eyes and told him she loved him more than anyone in the world and that he was perfect the way he was. In many ways, Inari likely meant what she said, but the curse of BPD is such that her saying of these things was likely entirely an impulse of the moment, and Inari had many competing impulses that would distract from each other. In practice, what she actually sought from a “relationship” was refuge from impulse, and refuge from judgements about her impulses. So for as much as she “pulled” Yuki, she also “pushed”. This push-pull nature combined with these over-the-top hyper-emotional exchanges and dissociation is a tell-tale sign of Borderline Personality Disorder… and this collision with Yuki’s INFJ mission was a “mess” to say the least. I sometimes ponder if Yuki is actually a Histrionic character.
When Yuki first presents his draft to Inari, the book is titled “Life is Beautiful”. This is actually what the title of the book was at the time, that Inari was reading it… as it was, and still is, a book about finding beauty in the chaotic ways we abuse each other as humans. The title was in reference to one of my favorite paragraphs in the book, where Yuki pulls out the most romantic thing he had been dreaming of saying to her, in an effort to change her mind about him in chapter 12.
Later on, I would change the book to be named “Suicide Note”, in reference to Yuki’s statements to Inari, in also chapter 12
“…you don’t have to worry about me being suicidal or anything. I’m the kind of guy that would have to write a thesis before he killed himself. I wouldn’t leave some little note crying about my afternoon, then go hang myself. I’d have to write a long detailed, persuasive essay explaining everything that is wrong with the world before I permanently decided to end my connection to it. Worry about me after I’ve written a book..”
I like the edginess of this title, but I also didn’t want my friends and family to have me committed.. as the book could have legitimately been read as a 450-page love letter and end-of-life manifesto. Regardless of whether I am a mentally unstable human or not, I wouldn’t want to sound too many alarm bells.
As I stumbled around trying to find the right title, I, for a while, named the book “The Queen of Black Hearts”, in reference to Inari’s larger than life persoanlity, beauty, and Gothy nature. I named it this, for a time, directly as Insult to Inari, but I worried that the title wasn’t bold enough though… and Inari, to me, was never an overtly malicious person… the title just didn’t quite fit.
Finally I stumbled upon the title “How to Sacrifice Your Lover”… and branded it with a subtitle “A Tale of Gaslighting and the Cult of Borderline Personality”. I figured this was both edgy and informative of the book’s contents. There is another blog where I over-analyze why I named it this to excruciating detail. Maybe it was too informative… as who wants to read such a thing amiright?