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 are christy's answers.
(Sorry. Christy meant to post her answers by Tues or Thurs, but she ended up having an unexpectedly bad week. Her mom had to be hospitalized and she's pretty drained physically and emotionally.)
(Soon-ish 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?
CHRISTY: I think I may have pestered erica into finally agreeing to humor me and write with me. We were both in between projects and procrastinating from re-writing or re-vamping old manuscripts, so we decided it would be an adventurous and fun deviation from what we were obviously not accomplishing.
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?
CHRISTY: We comitted to the project in the beginning of this year. We threw around a bunch of ideas. Our brainstorming included references to The Lake House and Labyrinth. In fact, I think erica may have emailed me links of clips for each of these movies.... Um, I don't think our finished product, or even any portion of it, ever resembled either of these movies. I have no idea what happened to that. It's hard to remember way back then. Erica has some of the email threads saved, so she may remember more of our crazy ideas. Maybe she'll entertain you with some of them in the next few days!
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?
CHRISTY: Email. Many, many, many emails. Daily, hourly, minutely. My husband has stopped making cracks about me having an online affair. Somewhere along the way over these past (three?) years he gave up and came to terms with the fact that a part of every day includes me updating erica on my life and writing.
Email works well for us. Also, erica introduced me to Acrobat.com. I LOVE buzzwords (I think that's what it's called. ?) Anyways, it's a place to share documents so we can both go into the same document, make comments in the margin (hers are orange, mine are yellow), make changes and save it all online. We just started using it for editing our completed ms. For the entirety of the project we emailed chapters back and forth, each saving it and changing things in our own separate documents. I always worried we would end up with two completely different versions in the end with no way of knowing which one to use! We'll definitely write book number two using the online document. That way we can always see what the other person is (or isn't, ha!) doing.
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?
CHRISTY: DEFINITELY! I loved every second of it! We have plans for a sequel. And even if number one doesn't go anywhere, which I doubt (again, ha!), I want to write it. It's a way for two people with a bad case of writer's block to keep writing. For me it was a way to let go of whatever fears keep me from starting a new project, or going back to fix an old one. I can jump in and take a risk with erica. I've been struggling on my own. It's so much fun to see where the other person will take the next chapter and then move on from there. Plus, it's easier, and less stressful, knowing half the book is being written without any work on my part. Half the time, half the work! I don't know how anyone would co-write without taking on two distinct characters and voices though. I think that part of it was a ton of fun. I am very much in love with our characters. They are more real to me than any I've ever written on my own.
Do you prefer co-writing or writing solo? What are the pros and cons of each?
CHRISTY: I love, love co-writing for all the reasons I listed above. I think writing independently is important too, though, to develop our individual writing styles and to be able to carry a full-length plot through on our own. I'm in a slump right now and haven't been able to write on my own. However, when we were in the midst of drafting, my creative juices were flowing and I was actually better able to work on my own writing on the side, while I waited for chapters from erica. I work best when I have two contradictory projects going on at once. I feel bad for erica right now. I'm the one who is gung ho about drafting and now I'm dragging my feet on the editing/revising bit. She's the opposite. Another reason we were destined to write together!
Plus, our main character is named after our domain name. Initally that was to be my pen name. Now, she's going to make us famous authors. It was meant to be. ;)
DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR CHRISTY? PLEASE ASK IN THE COMMENTS AND WE'LL ANSWER THEM IN OUR NEXT POST!