Learn by what we say and not what we did.
We started out with our cast of characters, who we knew very well, and a general outline. We knew what the basic game plan was but nothing more. There were times when our ideas were running off in separate directions and we butted heads trying to decide which way was the right way to go. Which led to days of going nowhere.
Snowflakes saved our lives.
I’m ashamed to admit this but yes, our outlining practices at the beginning were notably bad. We stopped and started 3 different stories until we found the one we both wanted to write.
And we found it by following the Snowflake method.
A simple outline just wasn’t enough with two people writing. Snowflaking was a tedious process that I fought every step of the way. It is boring. It is hard. I find it difficult to think of a story in segments when all I want to do is begin writing that first scene and plug on through to the end. I tend to be a little impatient. As long as I know where I’m going, I’m ready to get there!
Julie: Yes, I’m the one who said we should try the Snowflake method. I’d tried it for NaNoWriMo and other projects. (Don’t tell Maggie, but I never got it to work quite right on my own!) I love ideas so much, I’d love to follow every single one of them, and it takes me ages to realize that the idea wasn’t worth following to begin with. Maggie helps quite a bit with shooting down my ideas that don’t work...but we still needed the snowflake method to help us to actually focus on what WORKED for the story.
After the snowflake method, we had a completely different story that was coherent and had a pretty even balance of ideas contributed by the both of us. All it took was the right method for us and the time to sit down together to hash out each chapter.
We learned our lesson!
For the second book, before we even started the first draft, we sat down together to write a very detailed outline. It took us two months to come up with the ideas, decide which ideas were staying and which ones were going and finalize our plans.
The end result was a solid storyline and a quicker start writing the right story the first time around. I think it saved us about eight months of work! (And Julie is thinking right now that she loved writing 3 different stories even if they never made it to a final draft. )
Julie: I didn’t say that! (though it’s kind of true)
Are you a co-author?
We’d love to hear about your experiences and the process you go through when writing with your partner. If you’d like to be featured in a guest post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch. Thank you!
Meanwhile, look for more on collaboration in the weeks to come!