Friday, January 29, 2010

The Joys of Collaboration

Once upon a time, two brilliant writers were scarfing down Mexican food and talking about, surprise, writing. Brilliant Writer 1 said, “I’d like to do a book about witches.” Brilliant Writer 2 replied, “I’ve always liked the concept of the Witchfinder General, not to mention the cool movie of that name staring Vincent Price.” BW1 and BW2, between bites of burritos, began world building, throwing ideas around as freely as globs of salsa, and coming up with names and locations and such, as writers are often wont to do.
And so a series was born. THE BALEFIRE CHRONICLES tells the story of a young witch and her love for the next in line to position of Witchfinder General. But it’s not all seventeenth century swords and sorcery, no sir; it’s here and now, and the Witchfinder General runs a mega-powerful and vastly rich family-held company called WFG.
But enough of that; soon, some perspicacious agent will grab this series (both books one, Balefire and Moonstone, and two, Balefire and Lodestone, are complete as we speak, for any agent who’s asking) and the collaboration will start making BW1 and BW2 some money.
But that is in the not-so-distant future. Right now, let’s discuss the joys of collaboration. First of all, who does what? In our co-writing venture, we decided to have the first book alternate between two 1st person POVs: the witch and her new love. We brainstormed a brief outline, since neither of us is good at following—or writing!—very detailed ones. Then we started writing, each of us taking one character, making sure our scenes flowed smoothly and without (too much) repetition from one chapter to the next. We changed the outline to suit things that popped up unexpectedly. It worked. The book, as we’ve heard from reliable sources, reads as if it had been written by a single brilliant writer hand instead of two, uh, four. Cool! That was our intention.
Other collaborators work in somewhat different fashions, or so we’ve read. But the most important thing in any collaboration is to have trust in your own work and even more in your collaborator’s work. Outlines are good, so you both remain on the same page, plot wise. But you also have to be flexible enough to go in a different direction if one jumps up, waving its hand and shouting, and you both agree to go that way.
Some questions you might want to ask a prospective collaborator:
1. Can you take criticism?
2. Do you trust my criticism?
3. Do we both have similar drives to see this puppy through to completion?
4. Do you like Mexican food?
So there you have it. Now go forth and collaborate.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Are You Superstitious???

We writers are a funny breed. Like athletes that don't change their sweat socks when they are having a winning season. Or the student who has to wear their lucky purple shirt for every exam they take. In other words, we like our superstitions!

Ha! You laugh, but look at the methods you go through before you start writing. Now granted you may not wear the same pair of socks for twenty years as your success grows, but what do you do? What's your superstition? Or, in more practical terms, your writing routine??

I say this as I reviewed my own methods for coming up with the stories in my head. Nine times out of ten, I sit down and write because my characters simply will not shut up. And believe it or not, I have to get some sleep sometime! But I'm thinking about adding something new to my own routine; in the form of a very cute, very classy fadora that I will now wear everytime I sit down in my writing space.

So here's my "I'm ready to write" checklist when I'm at home:

1) Laptop plugged in? Check. Word processor pulled up? Check.

2) Steaming cup of coffee sitting next to me? Check.

3) Close said word processor to oogle the picture of the actor I think best fits the description of the character who won't shut up in my head? Check. Wait...check that again. (I had to get another look!)

4) (And this is new) Put on cute fadora. Cock it to the side. Adorable? Check.

5) Pull up the word processor back up and start typing? Check!

Now I'm lucky enough to have two favorite writing spaces. My second one is at my beloved co-writer's house, known affectionately as The Loft. Set in the most darling log house,upstairs, this is my writing routine there:

1) Hug said co-writer and pet the pups? Check.

2) Set up laptop? Check.

3)Follow steps 1, 3-5 listed above? Check.

4)Laugh my butt off and have a fabulous time?? Always do!

So there you go. The secret superstitions of a published writer! lol So take a look around, look at your routine, and see if you need to change anything. Because hey, we're a funny breed....

And we love having fun while we're doing this!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Voting has Begun!!

Voting has begun for Whortleberry Press' Favorite Story of the Year 2009 in It Was A Dark and Stormy Halloween!! My dearest readers...go vote for me!! I promise, I love you already, but I'll love you more! =D

Go here and find Chorus of the Dead by Cindy D. Witherspoon!

A real, non-promotional post will be coming down the pipes soon, I promise!!



Friday, January 8, 2010

The Importance of Tag Lines

Tag lines are short, simple, and very, very difficult for those of us who can sit down and write out stories that end up being between 50,000 words +. But while it may be tempting to skip the tag line all together, it's an evil necessity for any writer looking to sell their work. Like grammer...or ::shudder:: spelling.

Tag lines can come from a variety of sources, but you have to do a few things first before you start throwing those genius one liners around. And, dearest readers, that is what this post is going to do for you!

1) Know your story. Not just what happens; but the underlying themes and motivations that you didn't realize were there while you were putting the words down. Trust me; my own work and characters astound me.

2) Do your research. Look for massively used quotes or other goodies that could be used to sum up interest in your work.

3) The most useful one to me: Read your story. Do any of the lines jump out at you? Pick several that scream out to you; and run with them! you have your tag line. How do you use it??

To sell your work, of course! Put your perfect tag line on your query letters. Your business cards. Remember: nobody is as good at selling your work as you are. So go; get your taglines and start selling!

See? I'm already keeping one of my 2010 goals!



Friday, January 1, 2010


I hate that word. Resolutions. Its So unchangable. But with every new year that comes, so does this word. Come on...admit it. Don't you get tired of hearing "What's your New Year's resolution?" from everybody you know?? Like they need to know that you've resolved to lose those twenty pounds you put on during the holidays. Or that you've promised yourself that you will finish that novel, come hell or high water.

So let's throw those resolutions out the window shall we? Let's call them goals. Yeah..that sounds better. With a goal, you can change it. Its not so final. So from now on, don't make resolutions for the new year. Make goals!

With that said, let me list the goals that I've made for 2010!

1) The Balefire Chronicles will be available at all fine bookstores for your reading pleasure, and all of our fans will be anxiously awaiting Book 2 of the series!

2) We will keep this wonderful blog up and running...even if it kills me. =D

3) To write for at least an hour a day. No matter who, or what, is begging for my attention.

4) To live the writer's life in every way that I can.

hmm...I need to sit down and think of more goals. What are your goals for the New Year??

And with that question, I wish you all the best in the coming months!! Goodbye 2009! Hello 2010!