Collaborative writing has its challenges. Long distance collaborative writing means we’ve had to come up with new procedures for keeping the words flowing. So far, it’s been working. As some of you know, we are currently scattered, with Nancy and Eric in Oregon and Anne living in Namibia. When we started writing, Anne and Nancy lived a mere half mile from each other and about an hour away from Eric. That meant we could meet to hash out problems and conduct our business in person if it was needed. And it was often needed.
I don’t know if we would have been able to do any of this if we hadn’t had that first two years to get it together. Then in June of 2013, Anne’s husband was assigned to a diplomatic post in Windhoek, Namibia. We feared an end to our partnership was nigh. Surprisingly, that did not happen and we’ve actually been more productive since Anne left the States (probably because we can’t sit and bullsh*% over coffee for hours before we’d actually settle in to work). It is a combination of shared enthusiasm, establishing routines, email and Skype…always Skype.
How do we do it, you ask? We start with an idea and from there develop a story arc. Once we’ve got the general idea of our story from start to finish, we develop a detailed chapter map. Each chapter is described, with as much detail as possible. Then, we decide who will be the main writer for each book. We’ve found through trial and error that the best we can do is two books being actively developed at one time. It’s all our attention spans can handle. Right now, we are in final edits of Cold Prairie and Anne is writing new material for Return to Gaia. As the main writer finishes a chapter, that chapter is sent to the next person for edits/additions/rewrite. It is then forwarded to the last person for their input. Afterwards, the completed chapter is sent back to the main writer for approval and inclusion into the manuscript in progress. This goes on until the book is complete. Then the whole enchilada is sent to the first reviewer for a complete read-through then on to the last reviewer and finally, to the main writer. Then some lucky beta-reader gets to have a crack at it. Hopefully, it is then ready for publishing.
In order to keep us on our toes, we are constantly emailing back and forth and we meet weekly via Skype to talk. We’ve published three books and a short story and we’re in final read-through on our fourth book which is coming soon!
Anne will be home for the summer and we are looking forward to working together in person for a while (and bullsh*%ting, always bullsh*%ting).
Stick around and see what we’re coming up with next. As always, thanks for your support.
Anne, Nancy and Eric