Sunday, December 4, 2011

YOU want MY heroine to do WHAT???

Have you ever considered writing with a partner?

Before I wrote BORDER HEAT, I was one-half of a writing partnership which authored six short, contemporary, romances, four of which found publishers. Which means, I have a bit of experience in that arena, so I'm going to let you in on some of the fun -- and frustrations -- of writing with a partner.

First, if you're going to write with a partner, always remember that the goal is to produce the best book possible -- and to do it with the least amount of bloodshed the two of you can manage.

Did our partnership result in blood? you ask. Nope, but like any partnership (dare I mention the "m" word and say it was almost like a marriage) there were both pluses and minuses. My partner was a speed demon writer, while I agonized (and it takes a bunch of time for me to agonize) over every word. The pluses of that, she forced me to write a little faster (just to keep up) but I forced her to dig deeper -- for the exact word or action and/or reaction.

Two other aspects of our partnership:  (1) She disliked losing valuable writing time to research.  Me? Research gave me a reason to ask lots of questions and investigate subjects I might otherwise never have reason to visit. (2) She looked at life through a window unclouded by my additional twenty years of battling the good -- never-gonna-win -- battles. (3) She'd never traveled out of California, but I'd traveled to fifty of our fifty-one states, including Hawaii and Alaska -- i.e. first-hand knowledge of interesting settings for our stories.

So, would I consider co-writing again?  Yes, but only if I were certain our personalities could co-exist without damage to either, and that we would be equal partners in the endeavor.

Would I recommend writing with a partner to other writers?  Yes, but choose wisely. Remember what I said about that "m" word. And realize, going in, that you are giving up a certain amount of control over the final product.

Bottom line: I'm happy to report that although we no longer write together, we are still friends.

--Ramona Butler  author of Border Heat

The Writers Vineyard