Getting into the groove…

Small illustration scanned from the book Rodwell, G. F.: “South by East: Notes of Travel in Southern Europe” (1877). Public Domain via Wikipedia
Small illustration scanned from the book Rodwell, G. F.: “South by East: Notes of Travel in Southern Europe” (1877). Public Domain via Wikipedia

In spite of the fact that Jonathan and I are writing on totally different schedules, we’re going at approximately the same pace. It’s interesting because we both ended up writing gargantuan first chapters. We haven’t really figured out where things are going next in terms of revision, and at a point our POVs are going to intersect, but we decided during a brief chat this afternoon that we’d go ahead and do a cursory read-through/edit of each other’s chapters.

At first I wasn’t sure that it was a good idea. But then I jumped into editing Jonathan’s first chapter (he’s writing the princess, because of course) and immediately started getting ideas for my part of the book. Details. We’ve sketched out the big stuff, the 7 point plot goodness, but for me, what makes a book really satisfying, what makes the experience worth the time to read it, is when the details click and come together.

I’m good at characters. Jonathan is good at pacing and action scenes. But collaboration is not about just writing to your strengths. Sure, we’ll be able to help each other out when we’re feeling low. That’s not learning, though. I want to share that collaborative brain space and glean from it. When this is all said and done, I want to be able to look at my own scenes and not just see what’s wrong (let me tell you I am SO GOOD at doing that) but understand how to fix it.

Once we’ve written in our respective word processing applications of choice (I use Scrivener, and have for years; I’m pretty sure Jonathan uses Word Perfect or something) we then upload to our collective Google Drive. There we can edit and mull about and start to tease the best parts out for good–and we don’t have to worry about the gorram track changes bugs so common in Word — plus we can live edit if we so desire.

The next step in the process looks a little like this:

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I wouldn’t call it a brutal edit, since that’s not really the point. We’re writing super fast and furious. Sometimes we, uh, forget the names of our protagonists, ahem. But as a collaboration, we’re able to give fresh eyes right away — instant feedback — and the final product will be that more BOTH of our voices.

Neither of us has ever really written something at length with another writer (we’re nearly at the 20K mark if you add up both of our totals), and certainly not at this fever pace, so we’re definitely figuring it out as we go along. But so far this recipe seems to be working rather well.

I honestly don’t know how writers managed to collaborate over snail mail!

Day One – Destroyed!

In a good way. Both Jonathan and I hit our word counts, and today promises to be good for me.

It’s going to be particularly interesting as the weekdays progress since we’ll be writing on opposite schedules. Jonathan writes primarily during his commute and is done putting in the word count by 8pm–which is precisely when I start.

Collaboration is new to me as a whole, but I think Jonathan is reaping more benefits than I…

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The Pinterest Connection

So Jonathan is cooler than I am, or at least he’s been collecting images for longer than I have over at Tumblr. I’m a Pinterest girl, however, and after a little cajoling I was able to get him over there.

If you want to know what Cry Blood in the Silent City looks like in our heads, before it hits the paper, you can head on over.

Probably not for the squeamish or spider haters. Just FYI.

In Begins… With Spiders and Dark Cities and Disembodied Voices

The image of the the writer toiling alone behind reams of research and bent over the keyboard, talking to herself, may be rather representative of the whole… but not in this case.

Jonathan Wood and I have been friends since early 2008, when the boom of Twitter brought us together across the digital expanse. In the ensuing years we’ve shared a common appreciation of action movies, weird fiction, Dragon Age, and roleplaying games.

Over the years we’ve done our share of publishing, and even shared a few TOCs.

I’ll be honest that our workday conversations have been some of the strangest, but most appreciated, during some really challenging times. When we finally met in person in 2012, it wasn’t weird. I mean, it was weird, because we basically had the same kinds of conversations we’d been having over chat for the previous four years. We talked at length about the impact of Bioware on our writing, and our hopes for immersive games. We swapped stories about our kids. We caffeinated.

In what’s common by now, I had an idea. I sat it on it for a couple of days, and then finally asked Jonathan. What if… what if we did NaNoWriMo… together. What if we took a break from everything else and worked on a collaborative novel. Something weird and dark and not at all to the market. Something… fun.

That’s where this project appeared. Cry Blood in the Silent City is our first collaborative adventure, a spiderpunk weird adventure that takes place far, far away. We’ll be updating periodically here at Two Brain Space, and sharing exclusives behind the scenes into our collective madness.

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