Darcy and I met more than ten years ago when we each signed up for a free online writing class and then joined an internet writing community. We became fans of each other’s work, then critique partners, then friends. And then, through a few twists of fate, we became co-authors.
A few weeks ago, Darcy wrote down a few of the guidelines that helped us through the process of writing together. Today, I add my take as well--because this is the way we work. She sends me something, I tweak it, and then send it back (and vice versa).
Darcy says: Charity says on writing together:
Darcy says: Choose a partner that you genuinely admire, respect…and like. You will be spending a lot of time with your co-author.
Charity says: A word of caution: someone can be a great writer and not-such-a-great online communicator. We had the advantage of many years of online communicating already behind us before we started working together.
Darcy says: Stash your ego in the closet for the duration of the project. It isn’t about you and it isn’t about her (or him). It’s about the book.
Charity says: So true. I don’t have much to add to this one except stashing your ego in the closet is all around good advice for writing and publishing.
Darcy says: Examine your own strengths and weaknesses and understand your role in the project. Charity was the chief engineer of our novel due to her amazing plotting abilities. I was the “sparkly eyeliner applier” due to my generally goofy nature. The book needed both of us.
Charity says: We also found that when one of us didn’t understand something in one of our revision letters, the other did. And when we both didn’t understand, we could puzzle it out together.
Darcy says: Communicate, communicate, communicate. Don’t let trouble fester. If you are frustrated by some aspect of the story or the process, talk it out. Chances are, if you’re feeling uncomfortable, your partner is too—and that’s counterproductive to good writing.
Charity says: Also, if you’re frustrated with a scene, there’s nothing like handing it off to your writing partner to “fix.” But our best ideas came when we were working together, brainstorming via IM. What seemed insurmountable worked itself out when we worked together.
Darcy says: Enjoy the process! Writing a novel together is a unique and amazing experience. Have fun with it!
Charity says: And when you have something to celebrate, you get twice the excitement and joy.
One thing's for sure: It's going to take more than brains for this girl genius to cheer her way to the top of the pyramid.