State of the Collaboration: Rocky Start

Just to keep you all in the loop, Bob and I decided to delay starting the next collaboration until after Christmas because we have so much individual work to do. So I wrote a scene just to get my character on the page last week, not really starting the book, and he wrote a scene to get his guy, and then I did another scene so we’d have the meet, and now I’m pretty sure that when we look back to when this one started, we can use Nov. 1. Working title is Rocky Start, although I am still fond of Rose and the Guy Walking the Appalachian Trail with His Dog.

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We Have a Truck Draft

And the first draft of Rest in Pink is done.

I know, we’re amazed, too. It still needs work, but we have a truck draft (a draft that’s complete and good enough to publish if we get by a truck). Bob wants to rewrite a scene and write a new one for the end, but he nailed the action ending, something I am not good at so he is a GAM as far as I’m concerned.

And I’ve finished two books so far this summer. I know, WE’ve finished two books, Bob and I, but it’s been so long since I got to the end of a book, let alone thought, “YES! That’s how this should end,” that I am positively giddy. There was a whole list of niggles to take care of, but I knocked a lot of them out last night:



Chris Blake

Five Button Jeans



Sex scene (for the three beat)

Running up that hill: Umbrella for Anemone

Anemone puts the money in her account.

And now we move on to One in Vermillion, which I still want to call Yellow Brick Roadkill, but Bob does not. Sigh. This is collaboration.


My power cord betrayed me again and I have been unable to log on until now.

In that time you have posted 250 comments. Do you even need me here? Yes, to put up posts. Here, have another one.

In other news, Bob and I have reached 48000 words on Rest in Pink, which I just gave back to him, even though he turns into a pumpkin about eight which is further exacerbated by muscle relaxants because he hurt his back. That’s what he gets for doing things other than writing.

I am now going to read comments and cut the hell out of the beginning of Lavender’s Blue because Rest in Pink starts fast and is very good. You all talk amongst yourselves in the comments (like you need me to tell you that).

Oh, and here’s the beginning of Rest in Pink. I know you haven’t read Lavender’s Blue yet, but Pink is supposed to stand alone. The X’s are the parts where I took out spoilers. I do not count the fact that Vince and Liz are lovers as a spoiler. You all knew that was coming after you read the first scene in Lavender.

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Expectation and First Scenes

We talked about expectation last week, but I didn’t mention the most important place to set up expectation: the first scene.

The problem with expectation is that while you can manipulate it to some extent, you can’t control it. If your reader thinks she’s getting a romance and she gets a ghost story, she’s going to be upset. She wants to be surprised, she doesn’t want to be disappointed. That means the first scene sets up the expectation for the rest of the story by using

PoV Character & Internal Monologue
Conflict & Dialogue
Scene Ending.

The voice of the PoV character and her internal monologue will set up the tone of the story, the setting will tell the reader what kind of people the protagonist is apt to encounter and what kind of environment she’s in (urban, rural, cold, hot, safe, dangerous, etc.), the conflict and dialogue with other characters will set expectation for future events, and the ending that propels the protagonist into the next scene pulls the reader into the story. At least, I always hope it will.

So here’s the first scene of Lavender’s Blue. If you want to play along, tell me what expectations you have for the story based on just this scene (I know you know a lot more about the story, you probably know more about the story than I do at this point, but pretend, please.)

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