"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Writers Go Marching Two by Two

I have just finished editing a book that I hope to be a huge seller. I mean, I always hope they do well, but this one in particular hooked me. It wasn't so much the story, which is terrific, unpredictable, and sometimes a bit depressing; it was more the writing team with whom I worked. You see, Nathan and Derek Howe are two of the most endearing writers I've met.

They have gained my utmost respect for a few reasons. I won't go into the hows and the whys now; I'll save that for a future post. Just know that they, and their new novel, Aiden, have wheedled their way into my heart. And I've invited Nathan to join us today to tell us about his experience writing with his brother. He'll tell you . . . after you check out this cool cover:

Buy Aiden for Kindle on Amazon.com

Writing is generally a solitary art, and for me this is mostly true. I sit at home with headphones on, listening to music, blocking the world out. However, I don’t write alone; I co-write with my brother Derek. We’ve both tried to write stories on our own but never made it past a few chapters (in my brother's case, never made it past the first page). We both love to read and always wanted to write a book, but neither of us actually thought we'd finish one. 

About a year and a half ago, my brother came up with an idea that I really liked. He comes up with ideas for books all the time, some good, some bad, and some just weird. The idea he came up with stuck with me this time. As soon as he said it, I could see a story form in my head. I knew what I wanted to do with it. So as soon as I could, I wrote the first chapter. I sent it to him to see if he liked it. He made some edits, added some lines, and sent it back to me. Later we talked about the book and where I was planning to go with it. It wasn’t long before we were both knee deep in the book writing. 

A lot of people seem to have trouble writing with others; one seems to do all the work or they just fight over how they want the story to go. We’ve never had that problem, well maybe a little fight here and there, but nothing too serious. 

The reason co-writing works so well with us is we can play off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Derek is good at coming up with ideas and outlining. I’m good taking those ideas and outlines and putting them to paper. Because I know Derek is going to go over what I write and add what he thinks needs to be added, I gained a freedom I didn’t have before. I don’t have to worry about missing parts, or forgetting certain details, because I know Derek will find them and make it work. And if he can’t, well, we can talk about it and figure it out together. 

Before, if I got stuck on something, I would give up. With my brother, I know he is there to help me. We both push each other to become better writers. In the past year we have improved a lot and plan to continue the process. That is one of the best parts: we can challenge each other to become better. 

I could talk on and on about why co-writing works so well for us, but I won’t. I will give you the most important reason: we have fun. It is that simple. We love to see what the other one has added to the story and see what the other can do. If we didn’t have fun, we would have never finished Aiden. 

I've talked a lot about what works for us. All the advantages we gain from working together. But not all is perfect. I mentioned it can lead to some disagreements about where, or how, parts of the story should go. But that has been rare for us. Another problem we run into is that I write a lot. At such a pace that my brother can't always keep up. At times that can be frustrating for me, and for him as well. But it can be a good thing for us, too. It allows Derek to pick my best work, my best stories, to work on. 

I would like to thank Laurie for her great work on Aiden, and letting me guest blog. She put a lot into Aiden, making it a book that we are proud of, and I hope that you, the reader, will enjoy.

Happy Reading!

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