Thanks for inviting us to blog. I hope you’ll be glad you stopped by.
One of the things we’re asked about most often is how we manage co-author collaboration. It’s not easy! (LOL). While Cathy and I are the best of friends, we do occasionally have creative differences. And over the years we’ve found out that we have very different work styles.
When we first started out we tried writing alternate chapters.
It didn’t work.
Because, while Cathy plots everything out ahead of time and her characters da**ed well will do what they are supposed to. I don’t. I let me characters lead me through what winds up being the plot. So she would write a perfectly planned chapter and, figuring she knew exactly where I was going to take it, would plan out in her head where to go in her next go ‘round. Only to find that I hadn’t gone that direction at all. I didn’t mean to frustrate her. But it did. And I really couldn’t write her way.
So we tried something different.
We talk about the books, explore the characters personalities, discuss possible plot points and twists, relationships and subplots. Then we each begin a first draft of a separate book.
When the draft is done we each hand our draft off to the other for edits. And we each begin ripping into the other’s work, making changes, tagging things that we don’t think make sense, expanding some things, subtracting others. Then we hand it back. And the arguments discussions begin.
It works pretty well . . . with a few refinements.
There are some things in every single book we are never going to agree about. We could discuss it until doomsday, and neither of us would change our mind. (Not that either of us is strong willed or stubborn, LOL). So, when we hit one of those points the primary author gets the final decision. They can veto changes.
While the process we use wouldn’t work for everyone, we’ve found it DOES work for us. With the added bonus that we can each be working on different things, doubling our output. Since we each have separate strengths, the editing process inevitably strengthens the book. Too, having a co-author and business partner gives us the opportunity to have one person handling various business or family responsibilities while the other is writing. Because, let’s face it, family crises DO come up, and they’re never convenient.
For example: Today Cathy is in the throes of a deadline for the next Sazi book (March 1st). Galleys came in on the August release (Cold Moon Rising - another Sazi under C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp); we’ve got a February release that we’re doing promo for (Magic’s Design -- the first book under our new pen name, Cat Adams), and we’re in the process of updating our website. So, this weekend she is writing furiously while I’m here blogging, then moving on to editing the galleys and hopefully working on the website, before working on the draft that’s due May 1st for our brand new urban fantasy series.
See, it works . . . for us.
In my opinion, the biggest thing to keep in mind, in any collaborative writing venture, is that you respect the other person. That means you have to cage your ego and do the following: 1. Don’t ever dismiss their suggestions out of hand. You think about them. AND2. Keep a tight rein on your temper. AND 3. Be tactful and respectful when suggesting changes to the other person. After all, you’re both working for the same goal -- producing the best book you possibly can, so that the readers will be moved, thrilled, and put it on the "keeper shelf" with the rest of their most treasured reads.
Voila. That’s it. The secret recipe.