Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Writing with a Partner

Jean and I are often asked about how we work together in our writing partnership. Since people are very curious about writing teams, I thought today that I would blog about how it works for us.

Let me first say that every writing team we have heard about or spoken with, works differently. Each has to find what works for them. The fabulous team of Staci and Sara, who we met at conference this year, go to a coffee shop once a week and swap a laptop back and forth. Other teams take turns writing sections then sending it to each other for revisions or expansions. Jean and I plot together and discuss scenes. Next, Jean takes our discussion and turns our ideas into a great story with fantastic characters. Then I read through the work while Jean re-reads and we get together to talk about the newest pages. This discussion can include talking about word choice, tone, dialogue, or really just anything that we think of. We usually end our "official business" by talking about what will be coming up in the next section of the book, just to make sure we both know what is going to happen next.

On the marketing side of the partnership, I carry a bit more of the load. I subscribe to Publishers' Marketplace, read blogs by agents and editors, and follow Tweets. I do most of the preliminary research on agents and agencies before we submit I also generally do the actual submissions although we decide together who to submit to and Jean composes most of the cover letters. I also normally handle our contest entries. Of course, this isn’t to say that Jean hasn’t ever done any of these things but this is how it usually works for us.

Let me say that in our case we each think the other partner has the worst end of the deal. Anyone who knows me, knows that there is no way that I could sit in front of the computer for hours at a time the way Jean and many of you do. I simply couldn’t do it. By the same token, Jean doesn’t enjoy networking among large crowds of people at conferences and such, while I thrive on it.

What partnerships have you been part of? What has made them successful?


  1. I've always been fascinated by the way you and Jean work together, Stephanie. And it was a pleasure to meet Sara and Staci at conference. ;)

    I believe having to move frequently all my life has made me more self-efficient, able to depend upon myself whenever the time calls for it. That said, this is why I'm extremely happy to be a part of Okay, Listen Here. Being a member of this sisterhood has been a wonderful blessing.

    Being a part of our local writing group, Heart of Dixie, has also been a blessing. Every writer in this group provides interesting insight and a comraderie one can only dream of.

  2. I write alone, but I live for my CPs' comments and help. I like to brainstorm with other people and work out plot holes that way. I think the way you work together is amazing. Very good use of each other's talents and strengths!!

    And the writing chapters definitely help hone my craft!!

  3. I am the ultimate loner. I don't play well with others and I run with scissors (being a teacher Stephanie you know the type). I am amazed at the writing process you go through but the end result is flawless and quite spectacular. Jean would have long ago strangled me. LOL (and I would probably deserve it!) Any way, I have never worked on a team and I doubt that I could. I am in awe of the two of you.

  4. I, too, write alone, but anxiously await my CP's insight. I am also quite the recluse, so teaming up with a writing partner would probably herald my extermination.

  5. Kathy-I can see where moving would have a big impact on making one more self-sufficient.

    Christine-Brainstorming is a great way to plot. We use it a lot!

    Jean-What a great idea for a blog...What kind of animal are you? Oh, but we already did that.

    Cheryl-I do indeed know the kind of which you speak. I just got back from a field trip to B'ham with 37 of them!

    Crystal-If partnering up would mean the end of you then please don't do it. I couldn't live without you!