For those of you who don't know, I'm currently working on a joint project with fantasy author Laura Kirwan. (If you want an older heroine, and many readers have said that they do, go read her books Impervious and Crushed.)
Laura and I are creating a series called 1-888-HERO about a couple of lawyers who specialize in superhero and supervillain legal problems. Writing with another person has been an education for me.
First of all, most writers live in their own heads. We build entire worlds, galaxies, even universes inside the couple of pounds of gray matter between our ears. It's hard enough conveying the complexity of our internal story to paper or pixels. To create a joint universe? That's taken a lot of talking, a lot of e-mails, and a little compromise. (We actually wrote into our contract that we flip a quarter if we hit a snag we can't resolve.)
The other problem? I'm one of those people labeled from an early age as "Doesn't play well with others." Seriously, my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Eaton actually wrote that on my report card. I know I can be a demanding bitch, so it's probably a good thing that Laura lives in Arizona and I'm in Ohio. But I like and respect Laura, so I'm trying very hard to rein in my natural tendencies.
Probably the scariest part of this collaboration is how much we think alike in terms of story. She was concerned I'd be upset about her adding secondary characters. One of them had been someone I thought we needed, but I didn't want to cross into my bossy territory and tell Laura what to write in her chapter. We're about twenty per cent into the first book, and so far we haven't had to flip that quarter. Yet.
We are writing alternate chapters. And it's been fun seeing what one of us comes up after the other's person cliffhanger.
After the debacle of selling the house in Houston, I think the most important part of this project is that I'm finding the joy in writing again.