So, I have been trying to keep quiet about this, but clearly I have to publicly shame myself to finish Two to Tango, so I’m going to come clean. I have been cheating on the WIP.
I think I have been working on Two to Tango since January. It’s definitely been since February. Fresh from finishing and submitting Double Blind, created and sold in 40 days, I felt smug and happy and sure I could just keep on doing that. Even the several month revision of Miles (which was initially drafted in October) didn’t dull my enthusiasm. I was on a roll! I could so do this! I steamrolled on with TTT, eager and happy and determined to have a contract by April.
You might notice that it is currently June. That June, in fact, is almost over. Not only do I not have a contract, I have not finished.
Tango is a pokey little fucker. Well, it’s not little either. I think it’s hovering around 100k, and I know I’m nowhere near the end. Of course, I’m still stuck in revision, so I’m actually at the 60k mark. Who the hell knows how/where/if it will end. And yes, I suppose six months isn’t exactly dragging my feet. A lot of people take their time on novels, especially ones this long.
If you could please explain this to the multiple other stories in my head, that would be lovely.
Because when Tango wants to sit and ponder the meaning of life, they take over. There is this really funky steampunk thing that I have NO fucking clue what that is about, but it stole the show for a few weeks. Sometimes Sam and Mitch and company take over. For a good while there I always seemed to have something to edit or proof because a release was coming out, and that killed some time. It helped me feel like it still might be March when it was actually May. The whole resurgence of the weird stupid pain shit didn’t help, and it absolutely colored the WIP. Sam Keller’s great ride of the rainbow was distracting too—in a good way, yes, but it was hard to make Laurie and Ed dance when great things kept waking Sam up, and then we had to party a little. And then as I mentioned, he kept whispering about more story.
This is to say nothing of Etsey, which we will discuss eventually here in another post.
I thought I had this all under control, that I was just having outlets or something, and I stand by that excuse for everything up until the past few weeks. I can’t use it anymore, though. I am cheating. I am cheating bad. I am sucking away Tango time, and I am flirting with Something Else. I have over 40,000 words, so this isn’t letting off steam. This is fucking cheating.
Because you know there is a collage:
How this got started was because I have had a bee in my bonnet that I wanted to do a cowboy story sometime, but I really wasn’t sure how to do it. I really hate repeating stuff already done, and I couldn’t figure out a fresh angle. The conflict really tripped me up. There was also the huge issue that I know jack shit about ranching, and that felt like an imporant detail. If I was going to do it, I was going to DO IT. You would be feeling the wood of the side of the barn and the barbed wire of the fence and smeling the sun on leather. I just didn’t know how that could happen. And because this was a gnarly problem, it has been something satisfying to pull out when, say, I’m doing dishes.
I really can’t tell you what the catalyst was. All I know is that three days before DM Pride, I was wandering around the house or Ames or somewhere, and the next thing I knew I was at the computer taking dictation. I knew the cowboy. I knew his history. I knew what he wanted, what he needed, and where he needed to go. I knew it ALL. By the time Marie Sexton arrived, I had 30k.
In fucking FIRST PERSON.
(There is nothing wrong with FP. Just like there is nothing wrong with mayonaise salads. I just don’t really care for either. I will read FP, and I will eat some mayonaise dishes, but I seek neither out on purpose and must be dragged to both with some force, even when I ultimately find them very pleasing. What I never do is WRITE in FP. Except for that one time in Necking. And now this.)
I think I’m cheating with Roe (short for Monroe) because he soothes my jangly nerves. It just feels like everything is going so fast and is so crazy, and my inner Randy is really fucking upset about the odds. I’m not even sure what the odds are for, and neither is he. Sam just wants to dance and throw roses, and that’s fine, but Randy and I aren’t sure about all this exposure stuff. We are thinking what we need is some single malt, a dark corner and some good porn and maybe we can wait it out, but we end up having to make all these damn decisions, and we are kind of sick of it.
Writing Roe makes me feel relaxed. He is so steady and centered, but he has such a sad ache in him, and it makes me want to fix it. His plot is so easy, mostly just a painting. He’s so simple and easy. I have no idea how he reads. Nobody’s read him but me. All I know is that after a few hours of wrting Roe I feel a lot better, and I can face things again.
Also, there are a few personal demons Roe is helping me exorcise, which I appreciate. And part of him was spawned by some poor treatment of a friend of mine by her family as she marries her longtime partner and adopts four perfectly beautiful children. She’s shared her pain with me about it, and I ache with her, but that’s about all I can do. So I fed it to Roe, who seems to know just what to do with it.
So that’s my confession. I’m a cheating bastard. Except so long as I get back to TTT soon, I’m down with it. Right now Roe feels like the writing equlivalent of swimming laps. He’s healing several things and making me feel stronger. Any second now I’ll whip open the Scrivener document for TTT and dive back into it.
I was going to post a teaser, but I’m feeling all superstitious and can’t now. Let me just say that if you liked the heat level of Special Delivery, you will enjoy Nowhere Ranch. Lots. I don’t know about the first person. I was kind of hoping it would go away and I could change it, but I don’t think so. I will also tell you that it is set in Nebraska. Why, you ask? Because they have cowboys too, and actually we in the upper Midwest are just as sexy as Texas and Colorado and all the places everybody else sets cowboy stories.
Okay, that’s about it for now. I am cheating on Tango. I will finish it eventually, though, because now if I don’t I will look like a fool on my own blog, and I really hate looking like a fool.
Just so long as Sam and Mitch and everybody else are content to wait until I get my shit straight, I should be fine.