Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Advice for new writers

At least once a week we get asked, together or separately – what advice we would offer aspiring writers. Incredibly, we give the same answer – and if you knew how differently we are in real life, you would appreciate this rarity even more. So what IS the answer, you’re asking?

The best advice we give is to surround yourself with other creative people. Find a group or organization where you can meet other writers, preferably with members who share your interests. The reason we so adamantly spout this advice is that following this path not only led to publication for us, but it also led us to each other.

We live more than an hour away from each other, and even though we write together – we never see each other. Well, we DO see each other at our local RWA chapter – Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. And we DO see each other at various publicity events, but if we hadn’t met through HCRW, Lydia Dare would have never been born. Our paths would have never crossed.

Our local chapter currently has 140 members, but there’s usually 50 or so at any given meeting. And when you first join a chapter that has impressive NYT Bestselling authors, it can be a little intimidating, no matter how nice they really are. So, the newer members generally have a way of finding each other. And that is exactly what happened to us. We both joined the chapter within a few weeks of each other and introverts that we are - we tended to sit quietly in the back. Eventually we became friends and then later writing partners.

But two more different people you aren’t likely to find, which in our case is actually a benefit. We balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses – or at least we hope we do. Tammy is very plot driven and Jodie is very character driven. Tammy tends to write a little spicier and Jodie focuses on the historical aspects. And hopefully, when we’re done, we have a well-rounded story that readers will fall in love with.

Because we rarely see each other, we don’t write in the same room or we’d never finish any projects. Instead, we converse through email and Skype on a regular basis. We have a goal of 1500 words or so a day. And the way that works for us is one will write the words then send the pages to the other, who then edits those pages and then starts writing where the first one left off. When we finish a chapter we post it to our online critique group and see what edits, revisions, suggestions those ladies offer. And we continue in this vein until we type “the end”.

When we first decided to embark on this journey together, neither thought we’d be sitting her two years later with four books on the shelves and six more on the way. We were fortunate to find each other at the right time.

Have you ever decided to collaborate with someone on a project? And if so, was the person similar to you? Or did you have a different way of seeing things?

Originally posted at Deb's Book Bag 11/16/2010

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