Friday, January 24, 2014

Jessica Clare: Writing With A Partner

I have to admit, writing is a fun hobby. Getting to play in the worlds in my head endlessly and create stories for my characters to experience? Fabulous! But I’ve always thought of myself as a bit of a control freak. I don’t like it when other people give me suggestions for how the story should go. I don’t like suggestions on character names or situations. I absolutely, positively do not share my first draft with anyone. In short, I’m a control freak.

At the same time, though, I’ve always been envious of the writing duo of Moira Rogers. Those ladies are good friends and they co-write everything. They bounce ideas back and forth and write together. And honestly? They make it seem like so much fun. Like it’s an endless party for just two. And darn it, I love writing. Would I love writing with a partner?

So I invited my friend Jen Frederick to write a book with me. It was an idea we both loved, but one I was afraid to tackle on my own, and one she didn’t have time to squeeze into her schedule. Writing it together would solve both problems: she could co-write the book with me and we’d have a full book at half the time, and I’d have someone who could push me to head to those darker corners that the plot required.

Learning to write together was an experience, though. I took the heroine’s narrative and Jen took the hero’s. That meant we had to plot ahead, and if I wrote a scene the way Jen didn’t like it, I had to go back and revisit it. Likewise, if Jen had a plot point that I hated, she had to go back and rewrite to make it work. I actually went back and rewrote three or four early scenes because Jen didn’t like our setting, and I thought about giving up on the project. The control freak part of me didn’t like having to change.

But the good thing about writing with your bestie is that…it’s your bestie! She’s not going to arbitrarily pick your book apart because she hates your writing. She genuinely wants what is best for the story. And once I let go of my control freak side, I realized she was right. Compromise was the name of the game when it came to writing together.

And so we wrote, and wrote, and wrote. And honestly? Writing with my friend was sheer joy. I loved waking up in the morning and seeing pages of story continuation in my mailbox. Her ideas on the story and her dialogue were so fantastic that it inspired me to work harder and do better with my own. We wrote the book in record time, and I love every single page of it.

We had so much fun, we’re doing it again, even! We’re currently drafting our second book together, and it’s just as enjoyable as the first. 

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