Welcome Janelle! It's great to have you back. Janelle is giving a way a copy of one of her books so be sure to leave a comment.
JANELLE MOWERY lives in Texas with her husband and two sons, though a portion of her heart still resides in her birth state of Minnesota. Janelle began writing inspirational stories in 2001 and has since written several historical novels as well as a mystery series. Her first published novel, 'Where the Truth Lies', released in 2008. This was followed in 2010 by 'The Christmas Chain', part of a Christmas anthology titled, 'A Woodland Christmas'. Her second novel, 'Love Finds You in Silver City, Idaho', released October 2010 and received four stars from the Romantic Times review. Janelle's Colorado trilogy will release in 2011. The first of this series, 'When All My Dreams Come True', also received four stars from the Romantic Times review. 'Where the Heart Is', part of another Christmas anthology titled, 'Christmas at Barncastle Inn', will release in September 2011. When she isn't writing, her interests include reading, enjoying nature, and visiting historical sites. To learn more, visit her Web site at www.janellemowery.com.
Co-authoring Without Committing Murder
I’ve been asked numerous times about the how-to’s and difficulties of writing with a co-author. I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain how it was done with this mystery series and also offer some advice to anyone considering co-authoring.
My co-author and I met in ACFW’s online critique group, then met in person at one of their conferences and became good friends. We wrote in similar styles and decided to work together on a mystery series. We spent HOURS on the phone brainstorming the storyline, plot, and subplots. We then put together a detailed timeline itemizing everything that would take place from start to finish. For each story, we ended up with at least five pages of timeline. Once we decided who would write the hero and heroine point-of-view, we started banging out the story.
There’s no working ahead when you co-author. We had to work from scene to scene. It’s like wallpapering a room. One wouldn’t start at one area while the other started across the room and hope the pieces would match up in the middle. When one would finish a scene, we’d send it to the other, spend time critiquing the work, then the second would start where the other left off. It actually became quite fun because though we knew what all would have to take place in the scene because of our detailed timeline, we’d never know how the other would use those details as we combined them with our own creativity. We often surprised each other with the direction we’d take to get where we were going within the scene. As we critiqued each other, our style/voice blended to the point where few people knew who wrote what.
I realize I simplified our co-authoring technique, but if I were to give details, there wouldn’t be enough room. So I’m going to move on to the advice I’d give to those thinking about working with a co-author.
First, be sure to work with a good friend or someone you know well, one with whom you can be completely honest. There could be instances where you may not agree. You want a relationship strong enough to endure the times you may bump heads.
Second, be flexible with each other when it comes to creative differences. As an example, I was used to setting up a detailed outline/timeline before I started writing the story whereas my co-author liked to sit down and start writing and see where the story took her. In this case, because we were working together and because it was a mystery with several subplots, we decided a timeline was a good idea to keep us on track. But there are other ways to compromise. An example is how we wrote each scene. Certain things had to happen in each scene, but we allowed each other the creative freedom in how we moved through the scenes.
Third, communicate often. Check up on each other, make sure the other isn’t going through a tough time, whether with the story or in their personal life. It helps to talk things through in order to get through any rough spots. Which brings me to my final and most important piece of advice.
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER! Hold each other up in prayer on a daily basis. This act alone with get you both to ‘The End’.
There’s more I could suggest. If anyone has questions, I’d love to hear them and try to answer them to the best of my ability. There are other ways to co-author successfully but this is what my co-author and I found worked best for us.
Thank you for this great advice, Janelle! It sounds like a lot of fun. Hopefully one day I will have this same opportunity!
CONGRATULATIONS Faye. You won To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer.