Our guest bloggers today are new(ish) members of our local RWA chapter. They came in quiet and unassuming, but we quickly realized these two ladies were go-getters of the first degree. They jumped in with a running start and have kept us laughing the entire time. When they say they have a story to tell, buckle up because it will be a hilarious ride. Though unpublished, they just got home from their first National conference with a record number of four requests! These ladies are going places for sure!
Let’s give a big welcome to writing team Stephanie and Jean!
PANTSTER MEETS PLOTTER
You did WHAT today?
(Written from Jean's viewpoint with Stephanie's iron fist.)
Writing with a partner—most people wouldn't do it; most people shouldn't do it. It could easily lead to hair pulling, lawsuits, and funeral food.
We were friends first—not just friends, but the finish each other's sentences, swap shoes on the sidewalk, lend me a pair of panties kind of friends. The writing together was bound to happen because we always had a story to tell.
My spices are in alphabetical order and I read every issue of REAL SIMPLE MAGAZINE as if it was an oracle newsletter. Stephanie had no reason to expect that I would turn out to be a pantster—if we had known what a pantster was, which we did not. Nor did we know about RWA, GMC, HEA, or any other not yet discovered string of letters. We only knew we had some loose scenes kicking around and some characters that would not let us go.
Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, authors of THE NANNY DIARIES, plot together, write chapters separately, and sit side-by-side as they edit. It sounds all very neat and ordered.
That is not how we do business.
When I am building a character, I take him with me everywhere. There is always a track playing in my head wondering what he would do in whatever situation I'm in. When I choose bread in the grocery store, I decide which he would choose. When I watch a movie, I consider how he would view it. It isn't important to the story; it will never appear on paper, but I need to know. Then I write. It flows. It's satisfying. I have no idea what's next.
That's when I email it to her. She says, "That goes, this stays, rearrange this, and he wouldn't use that word. By the way, these two scenes need a transition scene." She's never wrong.
Early on, when we were still finding our process, she said to me, "Who's the bad guy?" She had that smug look that told me she knew the answer and I had a test to pass.
"There isn't one yet," I said.
"Yes there is. It's Mallor."
"NO!" Because, clearly, he was a good guy. I said as much.
"No, he isn't. He's bad. Tell me why." And much to my surprise, I was able to tell her. I haven't told her no since.
We're a little more ordered now. There's a plan and we know the bad guy going in. And mostly, I stick to the plan. Only occasionally do I send her pages that have nothing to do with what she was expecting and, when I do, I call and warn her. She does not like a surprise.
And when she gets that call, almost never does she say, "You did WHAT today? Dear, Lord." Most of the time, those unplanned journeys have worked out.
Thanks for asking us to come out and play.
Stephanie Jones and Jean Hovey write together as Alicia Pace. Stephanie lives in Jasper, AL, where she teaches fourth grade and wishes for a coffee shop. She is a native Alabamian who likes football, civil war history, and people who follow the rules. She is happy to provide a list of said rules to anyone who needs them. Jean is a former public librarian living in Decatur, AL, with her husband, two Maine Coon cats, and a recently rescued stray kitten. She likes to cook but has discovered the joy of Mrs. Paul's fish fillets since becoming a writer.
Find out more about this writing duo on their my space page: http://www.myspace.com/aliciapace
PS Our very own Instigator is visiting the Queens over on Soapbox Queens blog today! Check it out at www.soapboxqueens.com .
Join us when author Kate Hardy blogs with us on Wednesday, August 13th!