Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How do Victoria and I write together?

Firstly, as of yesterday, we officially finished book 1 of Monsters! After the third installment of Kali with Marionettes, Monsters begins with this book. Seriously, the cast in this book really did some things that we were not expecting. Victoria had planned the ending to go a very different way before one of the characters decided, "Hey, umm, I'm gonna do this thing right now. Good luck."

Yeah. Thanks for that, character.

But, either way, the ending killed us. It KILLED us. I mean, we're over here trying not to cry and crying anyway. I can't wait to make you all cry too.

What happens next is Victoria's first time revising a full manuscript. At least she has a coach who's very experienced with the art of revision! Tralala.

So, we've had plenty of people asking us, "Exactly how are you guys writing this?" Who writes what and how does it all work?

Victoria and I have been writing together for a heck of a long time. Maybe about ten years now. Even while I was over here in California and she was in Pennsylvania, we were writing together. So, we've had a very long time to develop our styles and learn how the other thinks and writes.

Basically what we do is roleplay. I have a cast of characters that I play, and she has a cast that she plays, and when we write a scene where these two casts mingle, we trade posts. Sometimes a post is a single line. Sometimes a post is paragraphs. The key is to make sure that our posts flow together like any other narrative, so that there's no break in continuity. A lot of this is fixed during revision as well.

(Sometimes we'll write a little extra than necessary and edit it out later, or we'll explain what a character is doing or what something looks like specifically so we have similar visions of what's going on.)

It also helps that we have very similar writing styles and voices, that way we stay consistent throughout the story.
Plotting is also a big deal between the two of us. We spend a LOT of time plotting. For the first three books of Marionettes and the first three books of Monsters, however, we plot separately. I do all the story planning and outlining for the first three books of Marionettes, and she's just along for the ride. She didn't know what I had planned while we were writing.

When we get to later books, especially after one series ends and the other continues, we plot together, and we pretty much do it everywhere we go -- in the car, when we take our walks, when we go out, when we're with people who have no idea what the hell we're talking about -- we're always discussing what's going to happen.

But sometimes we can't always plan for what happens. Characters often surprise us (like I mentioned above) and do something completely unexpected. Or, sometimes we just know to anticipate that we don't know what the characters will do, so we'll plan a few steps and then write ourselves into the answer.

So, in the end, co-writing takes a lot of work and dedication in order to be successful. We're a perfect match because we keep each other from slipping into slumps like writer's block and we have very similar brains. As long as one of us is super excited about the story, it usually doesn't take much coaxing to get the other pumped up!

Next, I'll be taking about a week's break from the writing blog to focus on revising book two of Monsters. Hopefully the proof for the first book will be here by Friday or Saturday!


  1. That's great to hear! :D It's cool that you two make a great team when writing, 'cuz I can guess there's nothing worse when someone's writing a collab and they biccer too much, or if one takes over...It's a shame that that's probably happened to a lot of people writing collabs.

    It's great writing as a pair, because there's always someone there to find where you've slipped up, and always someone there to suggest something better. I'm currently writing a fanfic collab with a good friend of mine on FF, because we both seem to cover each others' weaknesses, and we always suggest to each other when we think things could go a different way. Luckily, neither of us take over and we always listen to each others' opinions on where our story is going. And so far, the plot actually makes sense, which is a first for anything I've ever written, or in this case, partially written. XD

    Also, since the summer holidays are here for me, I should be able to get the full review for DiSaW done soon. (I've just started chapter 4 I think; I'm enjoying it so far! :D)

    1. Yeah, the greatest thing about collabs are putting ideas together with other people, because then all this creative energy just combines to get something so much more awesome than you would have been able to do alone. It's a whole lot of fun brainstorming.

      The thing with Victoria and I though is that we write a lot for long periods of time, so we're clocking in anywhere from 4,000-10,000 words a day, depending on who's writing what. It's also super helpful to write with someone who goes at or close to your speed, because if I have to wait too long, I get bored and move onto something else (◡﹏◡✿)

      Oh man, I'm so excited! We just got the new proof in today, too, so the timing is pretty perfect!

  2. all those sprites are adorbs ahahaha TIAN WHAT A CUTIE I can't wait for book 3 YOU KNOW WOULDN'T IT BE NICE IF I COULD READ IT LOUD COUGHING

    1. Read it loud

      as opposed to

      reading it quietly?