As of last night, at approximately eight o'clock, I finished another book. Writing. Not reading. I don't feel the need to blog about books I finish reading. Though I just reread The Pearl by Steinbeck and...Well, that's off the topic, isn't it?
So, this book I finished writing. It's rather special to me. Not only was it a challenge to write because it's a genre I've never delved into, Science Fiction, but I didn't write it on my own. Nope. This is the first novel I've penned with someone else.
The experience has been thrilling. And that's not even an exaggeration. From the word go, which came a month early on November 11th, it was a rollicking ride. You see, we weren't supposed to start until December, but someone (the other author) was stuck on her Nano project and I gave the go ahead to start this one. Well, no one advised me to keep my hands and feet inside the vehicle at all the times. And the safety bar was a little loose. At times, it felt a little dangerous since the two of us were moving at such a break neck speed. But, now that the cart has pulled into the station, I am impressed with what we have done. It's hard work coming up with an idea, executing it and being happy about it, let alone doing with someone else. I mean, an extra pair of hands, eyes, and lips adds a whole other element.
Not to mention we were both knee-deep in Nano during the month of November. Yes, people were questioning why my Nano book was moving so slowly and I simply didn't have the heart to tell them I'd passed fifty thousand words halfway through the month.
So, less than thirty days after we started, my co-author, the always amusing Missy, and I finished The Withering Of Amblethorn. A name I'm rather fond of.
To be honest, I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out. I mean, I knew I could count on Missy. She's a fast writer and one that wouldn't leave me hanging for months on end. That said, I didn't know how it would unfold or what steps we needed to take to ensure it went smoothly. To say I was apprehensive would be accurate, but my excitement outweighed my nervousness. I mean, sure, there was a chance she'd end up hating me, but I couldn't let that hold me back. Could I?
As we started to drum up an idea we both liked, I wondered what sort of things we should be taking into consideration. Should we have a document to work off of? Do we jump around? Does one person write a chapter and the other add to it? Who would go first? What happens if we don't like something the other person writes? Can we change something the other person comes up with? And whose name would go first on the book cover? You know, really important questions.
In the end, I realized, no steps were needed. We simply started. Missy wrote the first chapter and I did the next. From there, we leap-frogged each other. I think the fact that we chose to have two points-of-view helped because our characters were our own. But that produced a whole other set of questions for me. How do I write her character authentically? What if I make her say something she wouldn't say? And what happens if I write us into a corner?
The answer to all of these really came down to one thing: open communication. And boy did we openly communicate! We talked about the book nearly every day. Through MSN, email and Facebook we were able to discuss the chapters before we set out to write them. The talking was an essential part because we also offered a little something called encouragement throughout the whole process. A pat on the back here and a kind word there really went a long way when it came to keeping motivated.
Now, I am not insane, I know this was probably harder on Missy. After all, she had to deal with me. Not only am I some-what of a control freak when it comes to plotting, which I tried to ease up on, but my brain works at a mile a minute. Ask me a question, get a million answers. How is someone supposed to handle that? And while I might have been a bit unruly at times, I always stressed the fact that she could disregard anything I said, especially the dirty jokes.
Would I recommend co-authoring a book with someone? Yes, I would. But I would suggest you select someone you actually like. Luckily, I like Missy. And I think she likes me. So, it worked out well. I couldn't imagine doing this with someone who mildly annoyed me because it'd make the whole project so tedious. Not to mention it would completely break down the verbal sparring.
The key to pulling something like this off is teaming up with someone you trust. Oh, and someone who is reliable. No one wants to wait months on end for a chapter that may or may not ever come. Also, someone who writes at the same speed as you would help as well. And perhaps a person who is interested in the same genre. Granted, the Sci-Fi novel was new to both of us, but the Young Adult aspect wasn't.