DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE, DOUBLE YOUR FUN
(Apologies to Doublemint Gum for stealing their jingle)
As I write this, the 2012 Olympics are underway. I’m not sporty by any stretch of the imagination, but I do enjoy watching certain events and cheer for people I’ve never heard of simply because they are Americans.
One such sport that has caught my attention is Beach Volleyball. Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor have captured America’s hearts as the greatest beach volleyball team of all time. These women are phenomenal as they seem to share a brain, often anticipating each other’s moves. What these women do on the court, authors who collaborate well do on the written page.
For the longest time, I wore an invisible note pinned to my shirt that read: DOES NOT PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS. I have what some may call control issues when it comes to my writing. I’ve tried collaborating before, but it just resulted in tears. Okay, I was twelve, but still. . .
Enter Paula Moldenhauer some
later and all of a sudden I had a partner. It went something like this: One drizzly
evening on the way home from a writing event, we began talking about the
Titanic. It tugged at both of us, and so the natural next step was, “Hey, let’s
write about it!” Um, yeah. Do you not see this note pinned to my shirt? But,
because I’ve known Paula for ten years, and have come to trust her immensely, I
decided to lay my writer heart down for the sake of a co-written book.
We bounced around a few ideas, and eventually took it to our critique group. They helped us hone the idea until we had a workable diving board to jump from. Oops, I was talking about volley ball. Hmm…I got nothin’.
The next step after what we were going to write was how were we going to write it. Neither of us had ever shared our talents in this way, so we were beginning to tread new waters—hopefully not icy waters. The kind that could sink a ship. At first, the idea was to split the two contemporary characters, Paula writing Ember and me writing Jeff. Then Paula would also write the historical-- just some brief snippets of life on the Titanic. When the historical character, Olive Stanford, started demanding her story be told in detail, we realized we were writing a bigger book than planned. I took over Ember’s character and continued to write Jeff’s point of view. This also solved another problem. These two were beginning to drift toward one another as we had planned, but with her writing the female pov and me the male pov…well, let’s just say it got a little awkward.
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I gotta say, for me the ideal collaboration is when the two parties are writing two different stories. Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal is a contemporary with a historical frame. Paula lost herself on the Titanic while my characters reacted to what she wrote. When we were both writing the contemporary portion, neither of us were able to think too far ahead. Normally, when I’m writing, even though I’m a plotter, I love when the story takes a turn to which I must adjust. (I’ve always said I’m a seat-of-the-plotser writer.) But if the turn is created by your writing partner, that throws a whole different spin on the go-with-the-flow method of writing. Even so, we love and respect each other so much, there was rarely a tug of war with the story. Paula puts it this way: “The story brought out our strengths. Kathy loves to plot while I tend to do a really rough skeleton and fly by the seat of my pants. We plotted carefully at first. I learned a lot, though I kept teasing Kathy saying, ‘Can we start writing now?’ But our writing styles and personalities blend very well. We’re both pretty easy going and have similar passions, so most of the time we found collaboration only strengthened our original thoughts.”
So, here are my tips for collaboration with your best friend and avoid becoming mortal enemies:
1. Pray together often. Pray for open hearts and minds. Pray for mutual direction. Pray that God take your story and run with it, because it’s His anyway.
2. No book is worth losing a friendship. Respect your partner. Paula and I had different goals for Ember. Since Paula began writing this character from the get-go, she knew her better than I did. I backed off and let her guide me in that part of the story. By the same token, I had fallen in love with one of her historical characters. Occasionally I would express how I felt Charles would act or feel.
3. Atmosphere is everything. Find a cozy and fun place in which to work. We sat in Daz Bog coffee shop for the first few months of writing. Then, we had to adjust and meet at my house due to a schedule change. Fortunately, my house is cozy and fun. Just sayin’.
4. Divide responsibility. We both know and respect our strengths and weaknesses. Paula has a nose for marketing; I have an odd fascination with organization. Once the book was written, I took on the task of formatting, turning it into an eBook and a print book. I watch the administrative stuff, printing our sales and balancing our checkbook. She puts herself out there and contacts people (like Mary Connealy and Seekerville) to market the book. As a side note, we decided to become a business to handle sales of Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal and any future works we may do together. It just seemed the easiest way to keep everything even. Together we are PK Publishing, LTD.
5. As Misty May-Treanor put it so eloquently upon their third and final gold medal win: Believe in each other, believe in your capabilities, believe in your goal. Remember Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three (in our case, adding God) are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (NLT).
For an example of how our two brains act as one, go to http://amberstockton.blogspot.com/ and read how and why we decided to share our hearts without Christian verbiage. That article is a 50/50 presentation, written by both of us. It might be fun to try to figure out who wrote what.
Kathleen and Paula are giving away one ebook copy of Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal. Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing. Or buy it HERE
Kathleen E. Kovach lives in northeast Colorado where she leads a critique group and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, serving as Rocky Mountain Zone Director. With a passion for movies, she has created Craft Cinema (www.craftcinema.blogspot.com) where she discusses movies through the craft of fiction. An award winning author of Christian romance, she presents spiritual truths with a giggle, proving herself as one of God's peculiar people. Visit her at www.kathleenekovach.com.
Paula Moldenhauer is an author, speaker, and mom of four, Paula Moldenhauer has published over 300 times. Her first two novels release in 2012. She serves as Colorado Coordinator for the American Christian Fiction Writers and homeschools. Paula loves peppermint ice cream and walking barefoot. Her greatest desire is to be close enough to Jesus to breathe His fragrance. Visit www.paulamoldenhauer.com for devotionals, parenting articles and book info.For fun info and to order Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal please visit www.titaniclegacyofbetrayal.com
A secret. A key. Much was buried when the RMS Titanic went down, but now it's time for resurrection.
April 1912 - Olive Stanford boarded the Titanic determined to protect all she held dear. Her secret will go with her to the grave—but how can she face the afterlife carrying the burden of her actions?
April 2012 - Portland real estate agent, Ember Keaton-Jones distrusts men, with good reason. Ever since her great-great-grandfather, Thomas, deserted the family after the fateful sinking of the Titanic, every Keaton male has disappointed. Ember is on the brink of a huge sale when a stranger shows up with a key to a century-old secret challenging everything she believes. She meets forward-thinking Jeff Dawson who is working in the family’s musty antique shop and finds an unexpected ally in unlocking the mystery of her past. But can they undo the legacy of Thomas Keaton's betrayal?
Carefully researched, this engaging tale includes true stories of the Titanic embedded in historical fiction.