Writer Soul Mate: Co-Writing
Many authors ask me how can I co-write a book. They say they couldn’t handle losing so much creative control. They ask how my co-author Lisa Langdale (The Acid Method) and I don’t fight all the time.
One word: Compromise.
Lisa was (still is) my story editor for my other two series (Timeless Series & the Summer Chronicles). She was the first to read and believe in my writing. I learned how to compromise before my first book was released back in Feb. 2010 (Shadow of the Sun). That’s what writing is all about: editors, publishers, researching, workshops, grammar lessons, readers—all there to force change to make one a better writer. When it’s all said and done, a single person never crafts a book. So what’s so weird about adding another writer to help create and build upon your own writing? To me, it’s an incredible endeavor.
“How does one find their writer soul mate?” you ask. That’s a complicated answer.
The moment I realized Lisa was mine is actually a funny story. I was writing my second book, Soul Stalker, when Lisa and I got into an argument—our first one ever. It was over a tiny, inconsequential yet particular detail about a character who Lisa loved so much it caused us to fight. Even though the book was my baby. My creation. MINE. That’s what I wanted to scream. The characters had become so real to both of us that we were going all Mean Girls on each other.
“What did you argue about?” you ask.
This one deserves a bit of a drum roll, please.
The answer: SPEEDOS.
Yes. You read that right. We fought over speedos: whether Joseph Carter (FBI Agent & Gabriella’s best friend in the Timeless Series) wore a speedo during swimming competitions in high school and college (which he did, by the way). The funny thing is that the speedo thing wasn’t even written in the book—I’d never even intended to bring it up—yet we were going all SHOUTY CAPS at each other (hey, we live across the country from each other—not much hair pulling going on).
The argument went a little like this:
Me: Of course he wore them! He swam competitively. It’s not like he’s sporting a speedo at the beach.
Lisa: No he didn’t! He wore (sends me a website with new swim wear for swimmers that wasn’t available during Joseph’s high school and college days).
Me: He wore speedos!
Lisa: NO HE DIDN’T!
You get the point.
Again, speedos were never going to be mentioned or written in the Timeless books.
And I knew then that I’d found my writer soul mate (even though it took a few years to convince her of this).
The speedo thing became a running joke (along with tweed—that’s another story altogether). I eventually wrote about it in Fallen Legion in the form of vows during Joseph and Jenna’s wedding scene.
Joseph and Jenna weren’t religious, so Jenna’s friend, Sophia, had gotten ordained online so she could marry them. Sophia didn’t have to do much, though, as Joseph and Jenna had prepared their own vows. This wasn’t a surprise to anyone. However, Joseph tearing up before he even said a single word was.
“I’ll go first,” Jenna offered at seeing this, barely able to contain her nervous and excited giggles. “Joseph Archer Carter, sexy FBI special agent, lover of Jules, and wearer of tweed and speedos—”
“I don’t wear tweed or speedos!” Joseph cut in. That abruptly cut off the trickle of tears.
“Your mom showed me the photos,” Jenna argued playfully, then turned to their audience. “To be fair, he wore speedos because he swam competitively, but I have no explanation for the tweed.”
“Mother!” Joseph complained.
Again, I held back my snickers. Only these two would have an argument while saying their vows.
“Sorry, sweetie,” Joseph’s mom said.
“Ahem.” Jenna cleared her throat to gain everyone’s attention. “Joseph Archer Carter,” she repeated. “I will love you for eternity. I know that’s a long time, but just imagine when we’re old and wrinkly and still laughing over your speedo-wearing days. […]”
The point is that Lisa and I have worked together for years. We’ve learned to compromise, and we compliment each other. Lisa makes sure I don’t go all dark in my story lines, and I make sure to give her random grammar lessons. We write scenes where we seemingly become our characters and play off each other. It makes our dialogue and reactions real and unpredictable (because, in the end, not even we know where a conversation will take us). When it comes time to outline and write, we have a bit of a mind-meld. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful. It’s spectacular.
Lisa is my writer soul mate.
I believe every writer should find one. Someone they can bounce ideas off of; someone who loves and supports them. It’s different and a little scary, but when you find that person, latch on, feed them alcohol and their favorite food, and coerce them into writing a book with you. Because arguing over a character detail as if they’re real and the answer is a real, hard fact—speedos!—is a rare thing.
Halo of the Sun
Webs of Convexity
(Tocsin Saga, #1)
(Paradoxical World, #2)
(Summer Chronicles, #4)
(Summer Chronicles, #3)