It was certainly a struggle when Glynn and I decided to try writing together. He wanted me to use his ideas, I wanted him to use my ideas, and there were times when I wondered if we’d ever make it work. We did, and one of the reasons we did was, he recognized the smell of bitter almonds and refused to drink his tea one morning.
I kid. It was hot chocolate.
Then, one magical day, everything clicked. We decided that I’d do most of the plotting, he’d do most of the first draft from that plotting, and the pages started to flow. Over time, our working methods have changed. These days, he does a big piece of the plotting and I do an increasing amount of the first draft. We’re happy working together. We prefer working together.
That’s how I feel, anyway. That’s what he told me, too, after I promised not to serve him any more hot chocolate.
Except for small bits here and there, we’ve only written as a team for the last few years. This changed a week ago. Glynn is presently unavailable for our current projects so I’m trying something different. I’m using Christine Frazier’s 30-step NaNoWriMo outline to write a mail order bride novella. It is so not going smoothly.
If you follow that link, you’ll see the 30 steps a would-be writer is to take. Fill in a little something for each of the steps, you’re ready to begin your story. When I talked about this last week, I believed I could do this easily by…well, by today…and I’d be starting my actual story tomorrow. Then you and I could watch to see if I could actually get the novella done in thirty days. I’d have to complete a step each day but it felt do-able. If completing the steps in time is anything like completing the outline in time, I’m in trouble.
If I can wrap up this blog before noon, I should have time to fill in my scenario for Step Ten. Yes, it’s taken me six days to go through steps 1-9. This is partially because I truly don’t consider any one step before I’m ready to write it; that’s part of the “fun”. It’s also because the outline wasn’t directed toward reality-based historical romance writers. When she did this project, Christine studied The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Harry Potter. You’d be correct to assume there’s a heavy science fiction/fantasy element in those stories. That’s not so much the case when someone is writing a mail order bride story that is trying to be mostly/kinda historically correct.
For example: With step two, my heroine was to go on an everyday errand and “show her special skill”. I don’t know many people with special skills. I mean, Glynn can curl his tongue in this weird tubular-way, but that doesn’t seem all that special. I have difficulty relating to people who have extraordinary abilities, since my own talents are rather ordinary, so I went back and forth over this for a couple of hours. Tiring of the challenge, I thought, Maybe I’ll just make her a vampire!, which was actually a rather enticing idea, so I pondered over that concept for a while, as well.
I decided I couldn’t do it, even if a blood-hungry storyline totally fit with the title I’m using on the story. No, I promised to use this damnable outline to create a traditional mail order bride story and that’s what I’m going to do. You want to know what I filled in as my heroine’s special skill? She’s good with animals. Bam!
If things continue at the present rate, I’ll need two more weeks just to finish my rough outline and approach the story’s start line. I’m determined to get there, so I guess we’ll see. Step by step…inch by inch….