Monday, September 14, 2009

Why do I even bother typing?

By Jenna Byrnes

Heh heh heh... *rubs hands together*...Co-authoring is an easy topic for me. Jude Mason and I have been writing together for more than a year, though honestly, I can't remember when we first started. It seems like we've being doing it forever. Checking in with her on instant messenger is a regular part of my day, after I've gotten caught up on email (in case we have important business to discuss- we do not gossip!) It feels natural to touch base with her before I start writing each day.



When we decided to try our hand at co-authoring, we set down a couple of rules. First and foremost, our friendship was more important than any book. If we got deep into writing and either of us felt like there was a problem, we'd stop right then. We're getting ready to start our fourteenth project together (if my math is right) and we haven't had a hint of a problem yet. Maybe we're both too damned polite. We never argue, and always agree on our plots. (And we both find it hard to say no when we're asked to come up with something for an editor or publisher.)

Or possibly, we're so much alike that it's scary. When we talk on instant messenger, half the time we're both typing the same thoughts at the same time. One of us invariably questions why we even bother tapping the keys. We seem to be very attuned to each other. So much so, that I flew 1800 miles this summer to meet her in person. We walked right up to each other in the airport, hugged, started talking, and didn't stop for five days.



My favorite part of co-authoring is having Jude to lean on. There are some days I write like a house on fire, and some days I fiddle with the widgets on my blog for two hours. But when we're in the middle of a project, we're accountable to one another. Jude and I encourage and motivate each other, and cover each other's arses in the editing and proofing departments.

We have a little routine-- we brainstorm an outline for each story together, then she writes the first few thousand words. We pass the manuscript back and forth, editing the previous bit and adding our own segment, until we get to the end, when I wrap it all up in a pretty little bow. She edits, I edit, then we turn it over to our editors. You'd think we know where the commas go by now, wouldn't you? (We don't. Hence, the other editors.)

Sometimes we write individual stories that are connected, like our Slippery When Wet series for Phaze. In those instances, we edit for each other and provide support. We let each other know what works and what might need some improvement. It's a wonderful system, and I rely on Jude a lot. I'm grateful to have her as a writing partner, editor and friend.

And I'm glad I get to post the day before she does. Because we'll probably say a lot of the same things.

18 comments:

  1. That must be an incredible blessing to have a friend that you can work so well with. I am very glad. I recently (last week) read your TEB Untamed Hearts Series and enjoyed it very much. I will start the Kindred Spirits series next. I haven't read any of Jude's other books yet. I have read very few co-authored books, but have always enjoyed the ones that I have read. I never thought about it until today.

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  2. Hey Jenna,

    I think it's totally unfair you get to got first, did I tell you that? I mean... oh wait, I get to heckle you if I want. I get to tell all kinds of lies and gossip and ... uh... Maybe not. LOL

    Awesome post. 14th huh!? That's pretty amazing. Did you add that NEW thing in there?

    It's really been a great year working with you.

    Hugs

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  3. *Waves at Susilien* I'm so glad you enjoyed our Untamed Hearts Series. Oh, there is one more of them on the way. *Huge grin* I hope you like horses!!

    Hugs

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  4. Hi Susie,

    Thanks for stopping by the blog. Jude and I enjoyed the Untamed Hearts series but I think the Kindred Spirits books have been even more fun. Ghosts are a hoot to work with!

    Take care!

    Jenna

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  5. Hey Jude,

    14 would have been the judge, but now it's the kinky cops. The good judge will be 15. *G*

    *Shakes head to hope plot line appears in the next hour!*

    Hugs,

    Jenna

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  6. In a reader's point of view about a book done by two authors..I have read quite a few and really enjoyed them, I sometimes seek out this form of book because of this. I just think it's amazing two people and get together and put a book together so well.

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  7. Hi Susan,

    I really enjoy having a writing partner and am glad to know some readers seek out books of this type!

    Thanks for commenting, have a great day,
    Jenna

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  8. It's obvious from the banter we see here and in other places that you're friends as well as colleagues. Speaking only for myself, I think it's great that you work so well together, and that you bring out the best in each other.

    Maybe that's good for both of you, but it's BRILLIANT for us readers!

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  9. Hi Jenna,

    You certainly make co-authoring sound like a lot of fun. As 'Verb' has said in the comment above, the friendship between you and Jude shines through with every interaction.

    I'm looking forward to reading what your co-author has to say on this same subject.

    Ash

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  10. Ash,

    Don't believe a word of what Jude says. (Unless she's praising me highly, of course...)

    Nah, she's a pretty cool chick. *G*

    Thanks for commenting!

    Jenna

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  11. Hi Verb,

    Thanks for stopping by the blog today. I love anytime you use me and the word "brilliant" together...makes me so chuffed! *G*

    Hugs,

    Jenna

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  12. Hi Jenna

    Interesting post. I've always been curious how the collaboration process works. Icsuppose its a little different for each, but I imagine your collaboration is a good example.

    Garce

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  13. Hey Garce,

    Heck, who knows. Jude and me could be really weird.

    No comments to that!

    *G*

    Jenna

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  14. Uh, no dear, I'm fine, YOU'RE the weird one. LOL

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  15. Hi, Jenna,

    I really liked your comment on commitment. When you (I mean, "one", not you, Jenna!) is working on your own, you can come up with excuses. You can tell yourself that you'll leave that awkward scene in for the moment, even though you know it isn't quite right. You can goof off. But when you're partnering, you and your co-author have a commitment to one another, to do your very best.

    Actually I have a couple of questions:

    1) How did you get started co-authoring?
    2) Do you ever get really pissed off at Jude? Or do you ever feel jealous?

    (I'll ask Jude question 2 tomorrow, too!)

    You're fortunate to have such a great collaboration, that's for sure.

    Hugs,
    Lisabet

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  16. Hi Jenna...

    I am really glad you got a chance to put all of this on post, As I have always wondered how you ladies got it together and make it work...

    As a reader I am glad I took the time to read both of your individual works before I read the collabs because I got the chance to see what each author bring to the table...

    I am a huge fan of all your collabs and your style works for me - A big plus for me with these ladies is their level of consistency...

    As a reviewer I find they bring the best of themselves to the table and from Jenna post it seems this was more or less a match made in heaven...

    I must also say that I love the way you guys take the mickey out of each other - it definitely shows how comfortable you both are with each other and it is reflected in your work...

    Jenna hon... I did warn you about going up north, I predicted only horrible things and I can see it has happened....

    I am now expecting a few more wonderful book coming up in a few months... (Thank god you finally met each other)

    E.H>

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  17. Lisabet,

    You're exactly right. When I'm writing solo, and either haven't gotten firmly into something or have hit a dry patch- you'll find me updating my website or blog, or visiting Ning...LOL But when we're working together, I feel more of a need to keep focused.

    How did we get started? We'd been talking a lot, and one of us broached the subject- honestly can't remember which. It was tentative at first. "If you want to." "Yeah, maybe, if you want to," kind of a thing. But once we got going, we could tell it was working just fine.

    Do I ever get pissed off at Jude? No. Do I ever reach through the monitor and smack her across the virtual head? Sure. She's like me, remember, and sometimes I do goofy things. Usually a nice emoticon does the trick. :P

    Do I ever get jealous? Nah, because we invite each other along on things. If she finds something new and cool to try, she'll mention it to me and vice versa. We don't always do the same things, but at least we keep each other informed. Sometimes her solo projects go like gangbusters, and sometimes mine take off. We have a nice balance. And I think if one of us were to hit the big time, we might try to find a way to drag the other along. Just because we like each other so much.

    Thanks for asking!

    Jenna

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  18. Hi EH,

    So sweet of you to drop by. We'll have lots of books coming out soon- I think the dry spell we hit when I had the personal problems and Jude had eye surgery has caught up to us, and we don't have a lot of new stuff out just now. We are writing like crazy to remedy that.

    I love reading your reviews and have to say I'm amused that you try and pick out which of us wrote which part- no one else has ever done that!

    My trip up North was an adventure to be sure! If I didn't hate flying so much, I'd have to plan to a trip across the pond to visit a certain reviewer and her boys who love chocolate as much as me! Heh heh heh, no worries, flying 5 hours from Minneapolis to Seattle was about as long as I care to be in an airplane!

    Jude's coming to visit me, next time. Or I'm driving to her island. (They have ferries, you know!)

    Hugs,

    Jenna

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