If you’ve ever wondered if writing could be a collaborative effort, or if you could even find a compatible writing partner, here are two writers who can say, been there, done that. And happily. In this guest post straight from the pens of Liz and Lisa (check out their fab site chicklitisnotdead.com) you’ll learn just how a fiction partnership can work to write a better book. And now, here are Liz and Lisa to tell you all about their collaboration on …
The D Word
A Better Book Because We Wrote It Together
By Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
There are many benefits to having a writing partner- especially one who’s been your BFF since peg leg jeans and AquaNet hairspray were popular. Over the past twenty some odd years we’ve been there for each other through it all. Through break ups and make- ups and marriage and babies and premature mid-life crises. And all of that history comes in handy when you decide to write a book together. Because you just know things- important things you need to know when you collaborate. Like how you should never, ever, under any uncertain terms approach the other before she’s had caffeine. Which is why we feel The D Word is a novel neither of us could have written alone. Or would have wanted to write alone. Or would have been as good had one of us written it alone.
Of course it’s not an overnight thing to suddenly be able to come up with 100,00 words that someone will (hopefully!) want to read. And to be able to do it with your type-A control freak mirror image other wise known as your BFF? Even harder! But like anything, it takes practice to learn how to tell someone when her idea, well, for lack of a better word- sucks. And it definitely takes practice to be able to take criticism when you think you’ve just written what you think is the best damn chapter, but your partner thinks you need to hit the delete button faster than you can say, no one should ever have to read that-ever.
But we figured it out. We quickly realized a dual-narrative was the way to go. That we would write a book where the story is told from the alternating points of view of two main characters and we would each write one of those characters. (In The D Word, Liz wrote the ex-wife, Jordan and Lisa wrote the new-girlfriend, Elle). Of course we still edit each other’s work and at the end neither of us really knows who wrote what. Which we feel makes the book even better.
Not to mention it’s damn fun to write a novel together. And we feel the fun we have as we LOL until we snort when we’re trying to meet unrealistic deadlines we’ve squeezed in between midnight feedings (Lisa) and Girl Scout meetings (Liz) translates into our writing. And so does our passion. We’re best friends who are lucky enough to be able to pursue our dream together and that makes the stories we choose to tell even better. And when you read The D Word, we hope you’ll agree.
And here’s a tiny nibble from The D Word (& you can find the book here)
It has been exactly 350 days since I decided I’d be better off without him.
But even a year after our split, seeing Kevin move on with his life while I seem to be the one sitting in a holding pattern is painful. I thought I’d be living an incredibly exciting life rather than the same monotonous one I had with him. And that scares me. What if the problem wasn’t with Kevin, but was with me? If he was truly my barrier to happiness, why am I still unfulfilled?
“Mommy! Come on!” Max tugs on my hand and leads me down the flower-lined, cobblestone path toward the condo that Kevin moved into a few weeks after he agreed to leave me. Even I have to admit that it’s nice and cozy and most importantly, Max loves it and feels safe here.
“Are you excited to see Daddy?” I ask, even though I already know the answer.
“Yes, yes, yes!” he exclaims.
I’m glad someone is happy to see him. Personally, I’m hoping to avoid conversation during the “exchange”.
My heart aches as I think of what we’ve put Max through this past year. Trying to explain complicated adult issues to someone who thinks SpongeBob should run for President is exhausting. Kids think in black and white, and this has been a year of gray. But, thankfully children are incredibly resilient and after a rough couple of months, he has started enjoying the fact that he has TWO rooms full of toys. His acceptance has slightly eased my guilt. I still feel so much pressure, though, to pursue the life that I wanted so badly that I was willing to put his happiness at risk. Didn’t I owe him that?