Our Co-Writing Journey (Part One of Three)

erica and christy co-wrote a YA light sci-fi/mystery about a boy who disappears and the sister who does whatever it takes to try to find him, including teaming up with his quirky best friend.

The Text Message
When all seventeen-year-old Nea wanted was for her lazy slob of a brother, Derek, to leave her alone, she didn’t expect to find him missing with only a text message from a mysterious phone as a lead to his whereabouts.

We'd like to share the journey we took to get from initiation to typing The End. Today is erica's answers and tomorrow-(ish) will be christy's.

(And then we'll post the pitch and beg you to beta read it for us! We'll reciprocate. Just think: You can get two readers for the price of one!)

How did you two decide to co-write a novel?

ERICA: Honestly, I can't remember! I think we first thought of it when we "met" and decided to co-blog, but this past winter we were both between projects and it evolved from there. We had also read some co-authored books back then (Liar Society, Getting Caught, and Will Grayson/Will Grayson come to mind for me) that got us excited about it.

When did you begin?  And what did the beginning consist of?  Did you just start typing the story one day or was there more planning involved?

ERICA: I was thinking that we started in April, but I went back to my emails and discovered we started at the end of January and our plan was to get it out to betas in April. Of 2012. Whoops.

How do you two predominantly communicate?  Do you ever discuss your writing in person/via skype over the phone?  Does this form of communiatino lend itself well to co-writing?  Did you find anything to be helpful along the way that you could pass along to others who'd like to give co-writing a go?

ERICA: We email each other anywhere from 1 to 25 times a day. Not kidding or exaggerating one tiny bit. I still don't have a cell phone (also not kidding with that!) but the plan is I'll get one soon and then I'll be able to text and the number will rise exponentially. We haven't tried Skype yet, but we've planned on it. Have I mentioned that between us, our lives are shared by two husbands and five sons AND we're both full-time elementary school teachers? Email works because we can leave and come back to the conversation whenever we need to. Also, if we're drinking wine, it's easier to giggle and email than giggle and talk. :)

We split up the writing duties by doing alternating chapters - I was 2 characters and christy was all the others (I know, I know. She wrote like 75% of the book and still lets me share credit!). I think it was an excellent way to dip our toes in the water, so to say. If we each had to part of one chapter, we'd probably only be halfway through the book almost a year later. We're just not on the same type of schedules most of the time.

Do you plan to co-write more in the future?  If so, what would you like to change to make the next round go smoother?  What went well that you'd like to continue?

ERICA: This book ends with the possibility of another book based on one of the secondary characters. We're definitely keeping our options open on that one. As for having it go more smoothly, I think time is always a factor for us. On my side of things, my kids are older (currently 6 and 11), so it's time for me to make a time commitment to my writing - for example, do my "writing minutes" similarly to them doing their reading (or band) minutes for school. There were days and days and days christy was waiting for my chapters and that wasn't fair to her or the book.

I think what went well was our respect for each other as writers. Christy took the book in a completely different direction (incolving a super-high-tech communication system) than I would have at one point, but I was able to adapt and go with it. Similarly, there was an element to our original idea (time-travel/jumping) that would have needed to be developed in my chapters and I didn't do it - but christy was able to let that go (I think. christy?) :)

Do you prefer co-writing or writing solo?  What are the pros and cons of each?

ERICA: Hmm, prefer? Co-writing keeps me on my toes, that's for sure! I have lots of book ideas that I've started and stalled on for one reason or another. It's a lot harder to tell your partner "never mind, I'm not going to finish it" than to just give up on yourself. The con for me right now is in editing. I don't want to give christy too many pointers (or vice versa) and have our separate voices/characters start to sound too similar. That's why we need betas so desperately!



  1. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. This three-part series is an awesome idea. I can't wait to see Christy's answers, too, and check out your pitch. I think it's great that you two found each other and a way to write together. Keep up the good work. =o)

  2. Gosh Ladies, I'm really liking your tagline. The only thing is you might be able to be a bit more specific about 'whatever it takes.' But that's all. Sounds like a fun story.

  3. Wow. You answered most of the questions I would have. I've never tried to co-write a book with anyone, and I wonder if I could. I definitely think it would be fun to try! Erica... you should get a cell. :D

    But I do prefer emails for that very reason. They wait for you~ <3

  4. Loved the questions and answers. So interesting to hear how you wrote together.

  5. I've been pestering Christy about how this works for months. I'm so enamored with the idea of co-writing. Looking forward to the other posts in the series.

  6. Super interesting! I don't know if I could co-write a book. I'm a control freak in a lot of ways :) Sounds like you guys had fun, though!

  7. This was so much fun! Thank you for sharing it ladies. I'm all for staying on my toes. I've always thought about co-writing a novel with someone. Choosing who would be the tough part!

  8. Two thumbs up for you ladies. You did it! I am very impressed. :)


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