Lesfic Book Club: The Brutal Truth

For our July meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Lee Winter’s novel, The Brutal Truth. If you weren’t able to make it, check out the transcript below.

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A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://lesficlove.com (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we’re reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you’ll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc

Lee Winter

Hi everyone.

Reader 1

Hello!

Reader 2

Welcome, Lee, thanks for coming!

Reader 5

Hey Lee welcome

Lee Winter

Thanks for asking me

Reader 6

Yay!

Reader 7

Thanks for writing it!

Lee Winter

Lol

Reader 7

That sounded less weird in my head.

Reader 3

Awesome writer person thingy has arrived!

Reader 6

Things always sound less weird in our head @Reader 7

Reader 7

Some of the things in my head sound weird even up there…

Reader 2

So one quick housekeeping note, Lee. We usually end up with a bunch of questions all being asked at once. You can answer them however you want (in the channel or as a thread by hovering over the question and hitting ‘start a thread’) – up to you!

Reader 7

Im gonna stop talking now

Lee Winter

Thanks!

Reader 8

Savage lol

Reader 2

So we can get started whenever you guys are ready. What did you all think of The Brutal Truth?

Reader 6

So damn good

Reader 3

Loved it.

Lee Winter

Meh It was okay

Reader 8

Ridiculously fantastic

Reader 1

Wonderful! I found myself reading longer than I intended, a couple of times, because I was enjoying it and wanting to find out what would happen next!

Reader 3

Didn’t love that I forgot all about it until about 4am though and had to rush to read it all before the club meeting.

Reader 6

Seriously, @Lee Winter do you read your own stuff and still find flaws?

Reader 4

Loved it

Reader 3

For some reason I thought I had another week.

Lee Winter

I tend to toss the match on the pyre and walk away once a book is published. I don’t like reading it again

Reader 2

Did you get through it all, @Reader 3?

Reader 3

I did.

Lee Winter

With one exception

Reader 4

The narrator for the audio version was fantastic as well

Reader 5

Its amazing

Lee Winter

Love Angela Dawe

Reader 6

She’s a master

Reader 9

What’s the exception?

Reader 3

My first question, if Maddie and Elena were mixed drinks, what drinks would they be? And if you want to answer for other characters I would not object.

Lee Winter

Breaking Character. I seem to be in a weird feedback loop on it. Keep rereading it

Reader 8

In a good way?

Lee Winter

Ugh a drinks question for a non drinker. Lol.

Yes in a good way

Maddie would be lemon lime and bitters

I wouldn’t presume to speak for Elena. Hell no

Reader 5

Yum and can totally see that

Probably best not too

Reader 3

I’ll just blame Simon for that question.

Lee Winter

Haha

Reader 6

Maybe you keep re-reading it so you can write a sequel. *crosses fingers*

Lee Winter

I have been writing the spinoff at the moment

Reader 4

Lee, Elena seemed to model Miranda Priestly to some extent. Was that your intention?

Reader 7

What was the hardest part of the book to write?

Lee Winter

It was originally a Mirandy fanfic years ago, so yes, I would hope so.

Reader 4

As a reader, I say well done

Reader 6

And as a person that has no clue about all that stuff, I’ll say it stands very well on it’s own

Reader 5

So three questions from one that can not be here…she wanted to know which character are you most like? Which would you kill? And which would you marry?

Lee Winter

Hardest part… it didn’t really have one. How weird now I think of it

Reader 8

Did you have a favorite line or scene?

Lee Winter

Reader 6 that is awesome to hear. I worked hard to remove its origins from it

Reader 3

What was the hardest part to research?

Lee Winter

Reader 5… most like Maddie, I would kill skeezy Richard, and marry Elena

Favorite scene was in front of the mirror at Australian fashion week when Elena’s gaze is roaming

Reader 8

Yeah…good pick.

Reader 5

Haha agreed

Reader 9

agreed with fav scene

Lee Winter

Hardest parts to research was all things fashion. God I’m useless at it

Reader 6

You faked it well

Lee Winter

Thanks. Lol

Reader 6

Not that I’d know, but they all sounded very fashiony

Lee Winter

I had to learn about things like peplum

Whatevs

Lol

Reader 4

@Reader 6, watch Devil Wears Prada

Reader 5

And another….was the book always meant to have a #metoo aspect to it?

Reader 6

Why, when I have this book? lol

Lee Winter

Metoo… god this is weird. I wrote the book and fanfic of course long before metoo. That hit almost as it was launching

Reader 6

good timing then

Lee Winter

One of the first reviews sneered at that saying well that’s so archaic….and then metoo hit

Lol

Reader 8

I want to say that something I (an ace) appreciate about this book is the emphasis on the “falling,” and not focused on the sex.

Reader 2

Agreed, the character development and the romance both went so much further in depth than you typically get and it was great.

Reader 8

Exactly. I was as pulled to them as they were to each other. Their entire journey was an exReader 7ence I wish I could relive again for the very first time.

Reader 1

I also appreciated that when it came to Elena. Some books, the “mean” partner is so overwhelmingly defined by that trait that I can’t see how the other character actually came to love them in the end. Where in Brutal Truth, even when Elena was being mean, I could see and empathize with her, so it was easy to root for them to come together.

Reader 8

Agreed. Because there is so much depth

Reader 5

Nice

Reader 6

archaic? weird…

Lee Winter

Thank you Reader 8

Not everyone sees what they aren’t affected by, Reader 6. So to her it was archaic…until it wasn’t

Reader 3

What is Maddie’s favorite thing to cook/bake?

Reader 2

Agreed, the character development and the romance both went so much further in depth than you typically get and it was great.

Reader 5

I love the aspect of falling…its always more the journey to the destination that makes my heart skip

Lee Winter

I think she loves apple crumble things…gooey and sweet

I always prefer the journey to the being in love

Reader 7

In books and in movies, that’s what most stories focus on. What made you want to adapt that fanfic into a full novel?

Lee Winter

It had so much love as a fanfic. Like it was my second most popular fic by a long long way. And I couldn’t adapt my most popular (it started with rape ffs), and I really liked Brutal Truth so it just seemed like the thing to do. I wouldn’t do it again though. I hated the people dismissing it because it was a fanfic. May as well just stick to writing other stuff

Reader 4

@Lee Winter, I loved the way you wrote the sex scene.

It felt artful as opposed to slapped on

Reader 8

Do you still write fanfic?

Lee Winter

Thanks Reader 4… I try to have sex scenes as an extension of the story…they tell us more about the people, rather than who is inserting what into whom. 🙂

Just barely, Reader 8. I have one outstanding from a year ago I keep meaning to finish

Reader 2

Do you work on multiple projects at a time?

READER 10

Forgive me for being late to the club, I’m at work. My question would probably be what has been the hardest part about going from fanfic to full blown novels? Or are they each hard in their own way?

Lee Winter

Nah, one project at a time mainly.

Reader 7

What is your writing process? Not in this specific case. But do you start with the characters, or story, or ?

Actually, in this case, too.

Reader 6

and the eternal plotting vs pantsing.

Lee Winter

Great question READER 10. You have to really step up in quality and standards and editing, and be really on the ball or else it reads like fanfiction and that’s not on since people are paying for it

Reader 7, I am a great plotter who won’t write a word till I have the whole story in my head. I will work out characters, twists, all of it before I write a word.

READER 10

My kingdom to be that organized.

Lee Winter

Haha

Reader 7

Do you chart it? Paper, computer, notecards all over. This stuff is so fascinating.

Reader 11

Where do you gain inspiration for characters and plots?

Reader 6

wow

Lee Winter

Scrivener is a godsend. And yes, I have timelines and charts and everything. Looks like CSI

Reader 6

That type of plotting feels like magic to me. lol

Lee Winter

Inspiration often comes from news stories and wondering what if….

Reader 8

Magic!

Reader 4

@Lee Winter, I understand you’re a journalist, or at least was.

What was it like moving to fiction world?

Reader 6

How did you get so damn good at writing? I’ve been binging, a you know, and I’m just in awe.

READER 10

Do you ever listen to a conversation and think, “That’s going in a book.”

Reader 7

Is there something you would change to either the characters or the plot, if you could?

Lee Winter

Reader 4… surreal. It is quite different writing non fiction to flinging myself into a world of fictional lesbians

Reader 6. Journalism. Thirty years of it helps. A lot.

READER 10…more like…that person will be in my book

Reader 6

It’s still a leap to write short journalism pieces vs long novels.

Lee Winter

Reader 6 yes it really is. Quire different writing styles too. Fanfic helped me figure it out

Reader 2

What’s your favorite aspect or part of writing a new book?

Lee Winter

Reader 7… no, I don’t think so. I am in a comfy place about Brutal Truth

Reader 7

How long did it take you get to that point? Did you write it and tada? Or did you go back and change things often?

Reader 11

Are you in the process of writing a new book now?

Lee Winter

Reader 2…the excitement of watching them connect. The chemistry of discovering two new people discovering their interest in someone else. It’s like falling in love for me

Reader 12

How do you, personally, feel about brutal honesty?

Lee Winter

About four drafts to get there, Reader 7

Reader 7

Whoa. 4 distinct drafts? How much time was that?

Lee Winter

Reader 12… I live with a gf who is brutally honest. It can be interesting.

Reader 6

So does she read your books, or is that a no go?

Reader 2

And you’re published through Ylva. Do you work heavily with their editors during that part of

the process?

Lee Winter

New book? Yep am on draft five (one more than normal!) of a Breaking Character spinoff called Changing the Script. It’s about director Alex stuck in NZ making the world’s worst movie, Shezan: Mistress of the Forest … and she keeps thoroughly pissing off the cute local cop

Reader 6

ooooh awesome

Reader 7

Exciting plot!

Lee Winter

Four drafts is about seven months

Reader 11

Can’t wait!

Reader 5

Love the plot!

Reader 7

7 months. Wow. That is incredible.

Lee Winter

Reader 2… Next I will get three Ylva editors go through my book.

Reader 4

I remember buying Requiem for Mortals just because I read you’re Aussie.

But, damn, I got hooked on your writing.

Lee Winter

Reader 4 … maaaate

Reader 6

We have quite a few aussies here

READER 10

do you ever run into…let’s say “creative differences” with your editors?

Reader 2

Oh wow, on top of your 4 drafts? No wonder it’s perfection

Reader 7

Whoa. You write 4 or 5 versions. Then the editors get it?

Lee Winter

Reader 2, glad you think so!

Yes Reader 7

Reader 11

Melbourne represent!

Lee Winter

Good question, READER 10. I had a few discussions over one book but I prevailed. See I could see it playing in my head and knew it had to be that way while the editor couldn’t see it. She finally understood and let me keep what I wanted to do there. But most of the time I change stuff when editors make a good case

READER 10

I can understand that. Has anything they’ve had you change ever drastically altered the course of the book?

Lee Winter

No. Not drastically. Sometimes I’ve been asked to add a scene and usually it value adds to the book

For eg in Requiem I had forgotten to include the exact moment Requiem decides she can’t kill Alison. Kinda important. Editor pointed it out and I added the scene.

READER 10

oh goodness! points for good editor

Reader 6

lol oops

Lee Winter

Yes indeed. The good ones are worth their weight in gold

Reader 2

Do you have a least favorite part of the writing process?

Lee Winter

I hate the editing process. By the time we get there I am SO done with a book I’ve been working on for ages

Reader 3

I am blanking out on the questions today…

READER 10

so you said it usually takes several months to get done with the drafts. Once it finally goes to the editor, how long does it usually take to get to the shelves?

Reader 3

Oh! What is the most exciting part about writing for you?

Or I guess if I rephrased it, what is it about writing that excites you (the most)?

Reader 4

What’s your writing regime?

Set hours? Anytime? Quite place? Music blaring? Etc.

Lee Winter

READER 10 six months. Not because it takes the editors that long but it’s part of a publishing company schedule and lots of other books need attention too, so that’s a rule of thumb

Reader 3…I love it when I fall in love with a protagonist. When I dream about her.

Reader 11

That’s so cute.

Lee Winter

Reader 4… every day at my desk at home by eight am, work through to five. If I’m having a hard time writing I will play music that I link to that particular book.

Reader 11

So disciplined!

Reader 2

Ooh cool, do you share your playlists with your readers?

Lee Winter

Well I have bills. 🙂

I shared the Requiem playlist with readers. It’s on youtube and everything

Reader 2

Nice!

Reader 4

Great list

Reader 3

Who would you say is your favorite protagonist currently?

Lee Winter

Elizabeth Thornton from Breaking Character. Bloody woman got under my skin so bad. I’m trash for her

READER 10

Do particular scenes have particular musical themes, or does an entire book have one set feeling?

Reader 2

And is all of that part of the aforementioned plotting spreadsheets and diagrams?

Lee Winter

The entire book will often have a music vibe. Eg Shattered was Sound of Silence by Disturbed.

Reader 2, no the music either happens or it doesn’t

Reader 9

good song

Reader 4

Back to the 4 drafts, whose input do you use in those? Your only, beta readers, etc.

Lee Winter

Yeah

Me for the first two drafts, beta readers for the third. Sometimes…my brutally honest gf for the fourth, if I’m feeling brave

If you follow me on fb I’ve been posting some of her helpful editing comments. Hilarious and biting

Reader 2

Oh ouch

Lee Winter

I call it the acid and marshmallow edits

Reader 2

Is your girlfriend a creative type (aka do you ever get to serve the acid and marshmallows back the other way)?

Lee Winter

She writes for a hobby, not to share. She’s funny and talented

Reader 2

That reminds me, I was going to ask where you most like to interact with your readers. Facebook then?

Lee Winter

Facebook yes

Reader 4

Better than bad reviews because of bad edits

Lee Winter

Leewinteroz on fb

Reader 6

You are brave.

Lee Winter

Agreed Reader 4

Reader 8

Good question Reader 2.

Lee Winter

Better to be brave than critically panned, Reader 6. 🙂

Reader 6

True

Reader 2

Who are some of your favorite authors, Lee?

Reader 4

I hate FB

Lee Winter

I am mad for fellow Aussie author Jess Lea. Lola Keeley, British author and famous fanficcer also known as fictorium. Roslyn Sinclair (who wrote the greatest fanfic ever as Telanu) and Alex K. Thorne. But the best descriptive writer I’ve ever read is Fiona Zedde

Reader 3

Have you every written something that has surprised you?

READER 10

tried looking on fb, not finding them

Lee Winter

Brutal Truth surprised me. All those blogs Maddie wrote, Aliens of New York, they weren’t in the fanfic. They turned out surprisingly deep and reflective

Reader 6

And, the style was so different from the rest of the story.

Reader 2

Yes, those were my favorite parts

That and how, well, brutal Elena came off in her first scene

Reader 5

I love the blogs. I think they are my favourite parts of the books

Lee Winter

Thanks. In a way they’re mine in that I didn’t know my brain could do that

Reader 5

Well what an even more beautiful brain

READER 10

Where do you come up with the names for your characters?

Lee Winter

They just come to me. I try them on for size and see if they mentally fit

Reader 3

Is there a question that you are hoping that someone will ask but hasn’t been asked yet, and if so then what is it?

Lee Winter

Does this link work? https://www.facebook.com/100010034048069/posts/904191246592002?sfns=mo

facebook.com

Since so many people asked for more of my gf’s acid/marshmallow editing notes on my WIP, I’ve dived into my recycle bin and collected some snark-astic highlights of my book. This also means I get to…

Reader 6

yes

Reader 7

Those are gold.

READER 10

omg those are hilarious

Lee Winter

Back in one minute. Just enjoy the eviscerations of my gf while I’m gone

Reader 2

I imagine having a super snarky editor/beta reader takes some of the sting out of the criticism, that’s great.

Reader 6

these are amazing

Reader 2

Definitely props for letting her do that to a manuscript more than once. I would probably still be crying

READER 10

“You forgot to mention the crows pecked out the other eye” lmao

Reader 7

Some of that snark can’t be fixed with kisses…hm

I love it.

Reader 6

Impressive snark

And now I feel better about editing comments in general. lol

Reader 2

Same!

Lee Winter

Am back. Yes snark on that level requires a thick skin and twenty years together to sail through

Reader 11

Those burns…

Reader 7

Awwww. 20 years?! Congrats. Yea. At that point you know the love is there…regardless

Reader 6

It definitely helps

Lee Winter

It’s true. I don’t recommend this level of scathing for new couples

Reader 2

Haha yeah that could stop a new relationship in its tracks

READER 10

What was your reaction the first time the acid came out?

Lee Winter

She’s always been like this. She believes in the brutal truth in all things. Sound familiar?

Reader 5

No wonder you named a novel that?!

Lee Winter

It seemed apt

Reader 2

Fascinating – I’ve always liked the abstract concept of radical honesty but it seemed like fiction

Reader 12

No wonder you said you’re like Maddie and would marry Elena

Reader 2

I’m sure when she gives you a compliment it’s the best feeling in the world

Lee Winter

True, Elle. And Reader 2 it’s like gold dust. Rare and precious

Reader 7

awwww

Reader 5

Even better!

Reader 4

Do you have “long term” list of books to write?

Lee Winter

I realise now I have always grown up in a blunt family so hearing brutal truths was not unusual for me. It didn’t bother me finding a love like this

Reader 5

Which book is your favorite that you wrote so far?

READER 10

What advice would you give for those of us who are thinking of publishing for the first time?

for the aspiring authors in the group, I should say

Lee Winter

Fave book is a tie … Requiem and Breaking Character

Reader 5

Why those two??

Lee Winter

Reader 4 I have a few ideas longterm bumping around I’d like to get to one day.

READER 10

I swear I know how to type, yall

Lee Winter

Requiem…dark and different, it absorbed me. Breaking Character…structurally it’s my best written book, and Thornton owns my bloody ovaries, damned woman

Reader 6

lol

Lee Winter

Advice for writers…get better with fanfic. If you’re interested in specifics I wrote a blog about this once

Reader 7

Please

Reader 5

Love that! Lol

Reader 2

We are a little past the top of the hour, don’t want to hold Lee up from starting her day so does anyone else have questions they haven’t gotten to ask yet? Speak now or forever hold your peace

Lee Winter

Ylva Publishing

From Fanfic to Lesfic Author—8 Steps to Get You Published – Ylva Publishing

From fanfiction to lesbian fiction author – Lee Winter gives 8 tips and tricks to help fanfiction writers get published.

Sep 10th, 2017

Reader 3

Do you have anything you’d want to tell writers to avoid doing?

Lee Winter

For the love of all things holy avoid head-hopping POVs in the same scene. Just get that right and your writing will be so much better

Reader 11

Yes. Please stop dressing characters in Capri pants.

Lee Winter

That means we aren’t in two people’s thoughts in the same scene

In my getting published blog above there’s a link to pet peeves… funny stuff

Reader 11

Do you have a favourite book overall (not necessarily lesfic)?

Lee Winter

It changes, so I don’t think so. Last year it was A Curious Woman by Jess Lea. But it’ll be different again in another six months

Reader 5

Lol mine changes a lot too, a new one keeps coming out and topping my last favourite book.

Reader 2

Which is a great problem to have haha

Well, thank you so much for joining us, Lee!

Lee Winter

No problem

Reader 2

Your trophy for withstanding the barrage of questions is in the mail

Lee Winter

Woot!

If anyone wants to subscribe to my newsletter I often put out short stories for free and so on. Leewinterauthor.com. Thanks for the great questions

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