BTL Diaries

All right, we’re going to try something here, which means it may be wonderful and I do it daily or it might mean I totally abandon it after this post or in four posts or who knows. In other words, don’t get attached. But in the interest of kicking my own keister into gear and possibly drawing back the curtain for anyone who likes watching authorial process, I’m going to try to keep a daily (as in, Monday-through Friday, though I sometimes work weekends) log of my WIP, Better Than Love.

Now, some of you are shaking your finger at your computer screen and saying, “Nuh-uh, she’s said that before! She’s been saying that for a year!” Well, yes. But I really have been working on it for a year, and then some, and honestly, it’s been a fucking sucky year for being able to work, at least excepting the lat few months, and within those there has been way, way too much time taken away from work by cons. I also was backlogged with Other Things. Like Cowboy Eagle, which was supposed to be easy and then came out bitter and stuck sideways in the chute. Then I did the two projects with Marie, which was great and fun, but of course meant I was working elsewhere. Then there was Dirty Laundry, which was tied to the Tucker Springs stuff and, honestly, was a therapy project.

Now, though, I am ONLY working on BTL. Sunday DL got sent to Sary and to Dan to read, so I had nothing but me and my impending End of Novel. Yesterday I cleaned the house (pre-tidy for the cleaning crew, you know how that goes), bought a new purse, talked Damon Suede’s ear off for a few hours, and then, with a big fat finger aimed at my EON, and opened up BTL. Yesterday I wrote 800 words and scribbled my Crazy Person Outline all over my whiteboard, wrote it down in the notes section of the Scriv doc, then made more CPOs. I also made a new collage. This book has had MANY collages.

First one:


That was the one I made while I did the first draft back in 2010. Then I got stuck. I made a new one a few months ago:

That was when I got the EUREKA that Chenco had a drag alter ego. I tweaked this collage yesterday, trying to get it right. It wasn’t bad.


It was a good exercise, but it wasn’t what I wanted for my desktop while I worked. I needed something more conceptual, something that would always put me in the mood. So I went back to my stock photo search, and I found paydirt.


I didn’t quite mean Chenco to be floating in the road, but whatever.

So this is what “working on BTL” has been for the past 24. I want to try and get a few more words out of me before I call it quits today, but I do have a wonderful little outline for the opening sequence. Certainly it won’t stay tidy, but it doesn’t matter. I have this nice outline and I feel good about it.

I can’t ever decide if I should start in the opening scene or not, though I almost always do. I hesitate because the opening scene is NEVER right the first time I do it, nor is it usually the eightieth or ninetieth time I work on it. Damon and I had a passionate discussion about openings and what a motherfucking BITCH they are, and that was fresh in my head as I sat down to work, cold, on the opening. Because I’ve decided I want to rewrite every living word of BTL.

I never, ever hesitate to rewrite. I don’t just murder darlings, I’ll kill the whole text without blinking, especially when something has sat as long as this one has without being worked on actively. For me it’s never about the one liner or even the concept I’d had: it’s always about the story and how it wants to be told. A lot of times the first few drafts are what it takes for me to find the voice.

This damn story is extra complicated because once again Mitch, Sam, Randy, and Ethan are more than decorative characters on the sidelines. Not only do the other couples have their own arcs which reflect back on Chenco’s, but Mitch and Randy (Mitch at least, but I think Randy too) have POVs and therefore arcs pronounced enough to include via narrative. This alone is complex and makes everything trickier; add to this subconscious pressure on my part that “people like this book and it has to be good,” and maybe it starts to be clear why I’m blogging instead of hammering out those words.

Speaking of which, I should get back to that. My goal for the day is to at least get a good groove going on the opening sequence before I head to bed tonight. We’ll see whether or not I’m able to stick to that.

So, diary day one: lots of collages, a killer soundtrack on the iTunes, SD & DB loaded on my kindle, an obsessive outline, and 800 words. Do I hear 2000?

Stay tuned to find out.


3 Comments on “BTL Diaries

  1. I must say that I panicked for a moment when I saw your title. I read BLT rather than BTL and thought for a moment I would be reading about a dietary cheat that left you ill. This is so much better than that! And sounds interesting, too.

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