On our website we talk about our very different approaches to writing and life. "They had no idea their writing styles would be so different but, upon reflection, they could have looked at their travel styles for a clue. Jean (Pantster) once got off a plane in London with eight dollars, an ATM card, no reservations of any kind, and vague idea that she wanted to go to the Victoria and Albert museum. When Stephanie (Plotter) travels, she arrives with a detailed concrete plan written in a notebook that she carries in a coordinating tote bag that matches her calendar and her shoes"
So true.. I like to know that the details are mapped out and confirmed, in writing, while Jean likes to travel, well...by the seat of her pants. She likes the freedom to go where and when the whim strikes her, but I can't enjoy a trip like that for worrying about not having a place to lay my head. Maybe being a Christmas baby and hearing about how Mary and Joseph had to sleep in a stable created this need in me. I KNOW I don't want to ever have to sleep in a stable or share a room with donkeys, sheep and cows!
Back to our partnership. This is how it works: one of us will usually have a kernel of an idea, a character, or even just a line of dialogue. Then we get together and toss around ideas for how it might become a story. Sometimes they even start as a lark but then we decide that we like some element or another and the idea takes on a life of its own.
After we have the story idea we talk about major characters. I like to call this part of our process, "Who is the bad guy?" Sometimes our stories have actual bad guys. Our fantasy stories, The Elven Brides of Lochmoor, have actual villeins. Well, one of them has a bad guy and one of them has a bad gal. (I do love it when the bad guy turns out to be a bad girl!) Other times the "bad guy" in the story is the internal conflict tht comes between the hero and heroine. Our contemporary Gone South series is this way.
Jean thinks of this stage of the process as, "What would Tyden eat for breakfast?" because at this point she is really working to know the characters inside and out.
After we have the major characters and what they eat for breakfast sorted out, then we talk about the conflict. We call this the "hurt them bad" part of the process. Our friend, the fabulous Lynn Raye Harris, taught us a lot about this because we just never wanted to hurt our people badly enough. We have finally resigned ourselves hurting them because it makes a more interesting story--so we just pile the misery on.
The last part of the planning involves making diagram of scene ideas and some climax points . When we physically start to write the story, Jean sits down to the computer and implements our plan. She writes great scenes that get us from point A to point B, then sends them to me to read. I read each and every word, usually twice. We often take sentences apart word by word if they don't flow and feel right and word choice is very important . We once had a two day debate over the use of the word "ass." She won.
Our partnership works in a truly collaborative fashion. We send work back and forth until we both feel that it is the best it can possibly be. There are many projects in life that allow us to work with other people.
What are some of the best partnerships you have ever been a part of?