Questionable: What’s Your Collaboration Process?

I used to get asked about collaborating all the time, mainly, “How do you do that?” My answer was, “It’s complicated.” It’s still complicated, but since people are going to ask . . .

(1) The first thing I recommend is that each collaborator pick a character and write that. That approach has never failed me in any of my collaborations. It emphasizes the power of voice to make a character come alive and since writers have different voices, it’s a no-brainer for variety in the narrative. It also cuts down on collaborator conflict since you’ve got your own character and subplots to explore. It’s not so much “you stay in your lane and I’ll stay in mine,” as it is “this is your part of the story and this is mine, and we’ll visit each other.” Think of it as writers with benefits, the benefit being that you don’t have to write the whole damn book. Also, it’s really a lot of fun seeing what the other writer comes up with, reading new stuff in a story you’re writing. Writing is a lonely business, collaborating is not. Continue reading

Happiness is a Good Brother

I got an e-mail from my brother this week that said, “Call me,” and it turned out he just wanted to talk. We hadn’t for awhile, so we caught up, and then I caught up with my sister-in-law and then talked some more with my brother, and we all laughed a lot. Jack confessed he’d never read one of my books. He said, “I don’t want to read my sister talking about sex.” I laughed and told him that I’d never named a hero Jack and I never would (both my brother and my dad were named Jack) for a similar reason. We talked about things that happened during our childhood and we both remembered different things that the other had no recollection of, and we laughed about that, too. I told him the new book had the tagline, “Would it kill you to go see your mother?” and he laughed hard at that, and then I told him the mother in the book collected bears and he laughed even harder (our mother was nuts for teddy bears and Christmas tree pins and also just nuts in general).

What made me really happy this week is that I love my brother and he loves me and we say it. And also he married a darling woman who’s more like my sister than my sister-in-law, and I love her, too.

What made you happy this week?

The Zombies and the Burning River: Why Collaborating is Not for Sissies

We’re heading into Act Three which will be done definitely by the end of the May, and I’m thinking we’ll actually have a complete rough draft including Act Four done by then, emphasis on the “rough.” The problem is that it’s a real trial for Bob to write a book with a small body count. He wants to blow things up. As I told him once a long time ago, romance readers do not want to read about people dying. They get attached to characters. To which Bob replied, “Then stop giving them names.”

He’s doing pretty good these days, aside from his preoccupations with zombies and a river that burned in Ohio in 1969.

Continue reading

Working Wednesday, May 11, 2022

I’m still working on Lavender’s Blue, but we’re getting close to the end. Bob and I have the best conversations. The last one was about how Lavender couldn’t be strangled (and thus turn blue) for logistics reasons so we were going to have to rewrite that. Bob suggested she hit her head and bleed out, lack of blood making her skin bluish, except I looked it up, and it takes about three hours to bleed out from a head wound so that won’t work, so Bob suggested a broken neck, but I pointed out that wouldn’t make her turn blue . . .

Basically we spent many minutes on “How can we kill Lavender so she ends up blue?” And then I went to the local diner–not my much loved diner that closed because of the pandemic but the big diner in town which is also very good–and had onion rings. For research purposes. I never stop working, people.

How did you keep working this week?

Happiness is the Argh Ink People

I love this blog. Well, actually, what I love is the community on this blog. People from all over the world, a span of ages, occupations, ethnicities, hobbies, nobody with an ax to grind, or if they do have one, they don’t grind it here. If I had to describe the Argh people I’d say, “smart, friendly, liberal readers,” but I’m not even sure if “liberal” applies. Seventeen years of good people talking to each other, no flaming, no personal attacks, no trolls.

You guys make me happy.

What (or who) made you happy this week?

This is a Good Book Thursday, May 5 2022

This week I read many drafts of Lavender’s Blue, and then went back and re-read Heyer’s The Unknown Ajax and Colin Jost’s memoir, A Very Punchable Face, for the first time as a brain cleanser, and enjoyed them both. As a writer, you really get to the point where you eat, sleep, and breathe a story, and that’s bad. For one thing, reality takes a real hit. I also reread The Deal, too, just to get my mind exercised on first person.

How did reading exercise your mind this week?

Working Wednesday, May 4, 2022

We’re going gangbusters on the book, stopping only to brainstorm when we hit something we don’t know. It’s so nice to have somebody in the book with me to bounce things off and vice versa. Also getting the back bedroom, aka the summer bedroom, cleaned up and ready to move into so I can get the front bedroom, aka the winter bedroom, ready for Krissie to come and stay. And cleaning up the front wall and the borders on the driveway. I’ve let the front yard go to meadow which makes me happy. We even have bees again. Nothing but good work ahead.

What did you work on this week?