Monday, February 20, 2012

How Does It Work?

Since Brenda posted about best friends on Friday, I thought I'd follow it up with a post about how we have written Forbidden Territory together.

Co-authoring a book can be challenging, but it really does help when the person you're writing with is your best friend. We surf the same thought waves and often come up with similar ideas. We were actually geo-caching with our husbands when we first thought of the story. We thought it would be fun to write a book about teenagers geo-caching in the woods and getting into trouble.

By the end of the day we had both talked about the kinds of characters we wanted to write and voila! we had a story.

I really liked the idea of writing a person who was nothing like me - someone feisty, argumentative, strong willed. A fiery red head with personality to spare. That's how Mica was born. I, of course, needed a love interest for her, someone who could match her, not back down and put her in her place when she needed it. Eli came to life very quickly in Mica's wake.

Brenda wanted to write someone who would be the opposite of Mica. Lexy arrived on the scene. We decided to make her Eli's sister to add another dynamic that would be fun to play with. Then we had to decide who Lexy could fall in love with. Because Lexy is quite strong in her own, quiet way, Brenda was quite keen on writing a male character that didn't fit the general mold. So she created Tom - a sweet, gorgeous, exchange student from England. Since Eli and Lexy lived together, we decided to make Tom move in with Mica.

With four very different personalities all living within a few metres of each other (next door neighbours) the relationship issues have abounded and it has been so much fun.

When I talk to people about this project they ask me how we have managed to co-write the book. It's been easy. I took the characters of Mica & Eli under my wing and Brenda is in charge of Lexy & Tom. We started by getting the two girls to write diary entries. This helped us get to know the characters inside out - all their darkest secrets and histories.

Together we then plotted out the physical elements of the adventure, discussing what kind of trouble we wanted them to get into and mapping out a story arc. After that we each took our characters away and decided on their emotional journey. If I need Eli to do or say something around Lexy, Brenda will write that into her scene - same with any Mica bits that aren't written from her POV.

Communication to our success is really the key. We write on our own, but edit together. We discuss any key plot points beforehand so the other person knows which direction you are taking the story. We are never offended if the other disagrees - although that rarely happens - like I said - we surf the same thought waves :) All we need is quiet spot together when we can have some uninterrupted time to talk our butts off.

Has anyone out there written a co-authored story before? How did you work it?
Has anyone read a co-authored story before? Did you like it? Was it obvious there were two authors?


  1. I really wish when we talked our butts off, my butt would get smaller ;-)
    Love that photo, good memories!