Tag Archives: co-authoring

The One About Co-Writing (Part Two)

7 Aug

And then they… no, they didn’t dance. They finished the one about co-writing.

 

6. Discuss the Book and All Future Plans for the Book Frequently. This may seem like a weird thing to do at first, but I promise it’s worthwhile. No one will be more supportive of you and your future (obviously awesome) fandom than your co-author. So talk about it. Where do you want this book to go? What are your dreams? If your dreams are as bad as Flynn Riders, then come up with some better ones. While it may seem like you’ll never get anywhere, laughing about who you think your readers will ship in the future and drooling over certain publishing companies will help not only to set your standards of achievement high, but it will also make you and your co-author closer. Along those same lines, you’ll establish similar aspirations for the book. This is very important. If you’re envisioning yourself as the next New York Times Best Seller and your buddy is really just wanting to write a story to share with the family, then he or she might not be so inclined to slave over the manuscript like you are. Talking about where you want to go with the book will also help you tackle the big discussions in chunks instead of all at once. Do you want to have more than one main character? How long of a book are we talking? Do we want to make this into a trilogy? A saga? A series? Multiple series? When should we draw the line and maybe move on to other things? Brooke and I went through this a lot with our “cycle” WilderQuest. A lot of times, we let all of our gushing ideas accumulate for months before we addressed them, and because of that, our ideas would often clash and clash hard. Again, communication is the key.

 

7. Keep the Book Consistent. What tense? What point of view? Formatting. It is a big deal. Let no one tell you otherwise. Ever. Because it is a big deal. Especially if one of the people involved is OCD. That was me, Sarah, if you were wondering. This is probably one of the most important things to keep in mind while you are co-writing. A lot of times, you and whoever you choose to write with will have very different ideas of how things should look. In fact, your styles will likely be very different as well. And although it can become a really big road-block if you let it, there are a lot of ways to avoid locking up over inconsistencies. This may end up requiring you teach a few Microsoft Word short cuts to your authoring compatriot or sacrifice your own ideal title headings for ones that your buddy likes more. Again, be ready to compromise and work through the problem with God’s grace and serenity. Agree on and then set up a chapter template, make character description sheets up, and share what you think about each others’ writing. Brooke and I often talked through inconsistencies that arose, making notes of some character’s preference for certain things and also how to properly indent paragraphs. And more often than not, all that was needed was brief clarification. Here’s what happens when you don’t do this:

“Evangeline huffed in irritation, glaring at Liz with her cold, dark brown eyes.” — Chapter 2, written by Sarah

“Evangeline’s bright blue eyes flashed; fear was evident in her face despite the chaos of battle.” — Chapter 11, written by Brooke

See the dilemma? While these sentences didn’t actually come straight from WilderQuest, this very thing actually did happen. You’ll find that you and your friend will likely have characters that the both of you created almost entirely by yourself, or you’ll come up on a part in your book where one of you planned out the battle scene to the gory details. These aren’t bad things, but always keep in mind that the other person working with you is probably not telepathic. If you have things planned out to the very last dotted i on the page, be sure to share this and be willing to compromise if your better (writing) half has an idea. Plot bunnies multiply exponentially where inconsistencies are, and no one wants to have to chase all those fluffy mongrels off.

 

8. Make Achievable Goals. The word “achievable” here is very important. Goals will be the things that help propel you through the tough times of novel writing and also push you to the breaking point, and goals will also often be a test of your teamwork finesse levels. Whether it’s a goal to reach a certain word count, write a certain number of chapters in a week, or a setting and meeting a certain dead line, you will find that it is very important one, that these goals that you set can actually be achieved, and two– without butting too much into the next point, that you encourage your friend to meet the goals that you do set. Seriously, just knowing that someone else who you know is human (because who can be sure about these big time author people) tacking a crack at reaching that really hard goal will help you to do better, even if you don’t achieve that goal in the end. Granted that nothing is quite as satisfying as knowing that you and your writing compadre have reached a goal on time. So strive to meet those goals. Or make a point to laugh about them later. Both are pretty enjoyable, although one of them is decidedly more productive.

 

9. Encourage One Another in Writing and in Life. This is definitely the biggest benefit of writing with another person. Although, undoubtedly, you will have your ups and downs, good days and days that main characters end up in dark pits being tortured to death, you will also have days that you finally pull out of your writer’s block and the first person to throw you a party and send you cake is your co-author. Days that you’ll disparagingly decide that your novel will never go anywhere and you might as well stop now and take up some profitable career now like your mom has been telling you to for the past sixteen years and the one to dispel all that is your wonderful, high-spirited writing buddy. In fact, you’ll find that the friends who write together, often stay together. Like, seriously, Brooke and I have been life-buddies since the tender age of two. There is something about spinning a tale with another uniquely amazing individual that is really pretty awesome in-and-of itself, and you will likely discover that the people who “get you” the best are the people that you write with. So, with this pretty awesome relationship in mind, don’t overlook the importance of daily making an effort to build each other up and encouraging one another to strive for each of your “bests” — whatever that best looks like. And if you’re pen pal is just having a rough go of it in general, be there for them– pray for them. Trust me, riding through the storms of life with someone is one sure way to ensure that when you write together– it’s just that: together.

 

10. Co-Writing Can Be Lots of Fun. So Enjoy It. One of the best feelings you’ll have while co-writing is the moment when you and your friend finish a book, and you read back through it and realize that you’ve shared a very unique part of yourself with another person who feels the same way. I have learned so much from co-writing and continue to learn about not only my own style and abilities, but also about other people and how to best interact with others. Truly, nothing will improve your writing as quickly as working together with other talented individuals because you will find yourself wanting to put forth your best so that they will do the same. Instead of standing on the precipice of a new novel alone, you will be standing with a friend and fellow warrior. Some of the best memories I have are from late-night role-playing sessions, really, freakishly long book planning discussions, and the intermittent moments of shared insider jokes and character impersonations. So have fun with it. Co-writing is probably one of the most fun things you’ll do. And while it does take a lot of work on the outset, the rewards that you reap in the long run will far exceed the little troubles that you go through at the start.

 

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Well, there’s our take on co-writing. Did you think of something that we missed now that we’ve reached the end? Think that you could explain one of the points better? Have a story to tell that fits one of our ten points? Tell us about it in the comments below!

New Contact Form

7 Aug

Hi, guys!

We just want to let you know that we have a new feature of EEB! You can now find our contact form in a drop-down menu from the “About” page at the top of the webpage. We are super excited about this, because, although we had a contact form before, we really would like to encourage y’all to submit questions about writing, faith, and life in general! You now can have a significant impact on what kind of posts we put up there.

You're going to have to sharpen your pencil for this one, guys.

You’re going to have to sharpen your pencil for this one, guys.

Now, we are, of course, going to continue with our usual posts and writing updates (and probably come up with some fun, random posts too — *spoilers* Sarah’s been thinking about starting a serial on idioms in the English language), but we are also super excited about building a community of writers who are for the kingdom of God! This is why your input is super important. You are all what makes this blog so much fun to write, and as a team we want to keep building up our relationships with you guys!

So don’t be afraid to drop us a line– even if it’s just to say hi. You guys are awesome, and we are excited about this new opportunity for us to all grow closer together.

 

-the EEB Writing Team

 

Sarah’s House June 2014

3 Jun

So, in case you were not aware, the EEB crew doesn’t get to meet up very often. In fact, Sarah and Brooke have never even met Brenna in person. Which of course means Sarah imagines her being a taller than she actually is. We usually make up for this by Skyping each other frequently, phone calls, and even using snail mail. (Sarah literally obsesses over mail. It is one of her favorite things.) When we do meet up for the day, though, there is always a lot of excitement.

Yesterday was no different as Brooke and Sarah met up for the first time since Sarah’s 16th birthday in January. After a day filled with discussing previous writings, the odd art of creating villains, and laughing at the Fourth Wall, we pulled out the nerf swords and did some dueling. Now, we are obviously no trained swordsmen and likely broke ever rule of conduct and form in the history of the world, but it was still a lot of fun to pretend and imagine our own characters as we dueled.

We finally rounded out the day with a trip to Fox’s Pizza, a small, very Southern pizza joint near Sarah’s house which makes some killer pizza and also has one of those Coke machines that lets you choose from pretty much every soda ever invented. Those things are awesome. And granted there were no tears as the Norris’ left to go home, there was quite a lot of hugging and shoulder punching and drawn-out fare-welling to make up for it.

Sarah will be posting some of the duel videos to YouTube later today, so keep an eye out! If you didn’t know, EEB now has it’s own YouTube channel, EEB Writing.

Let the duels begin!

EEB: Sarah’s Video Introduction

21 May

 

EEB welcomes you to our blog and to the King’s Road!

EEB’s Merry Christmas

3 Jan

‘Twas the night before Thursday, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The presents were stacked by the door with care,

In hopes that my mother soon would be there;

My sister and father were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her pajamas, and I in my cap,

Had just stirred from a long winter’s nap,

When out of the digital alarm there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

And then I remembered, with a jump and a smile,

Today was the day we would travel many miles

To see my best friend and co-author,

Brooke Norris in the public library– just to our order.

– EEB’s version of “The Night Before Christmas”

Since we live quite a ways away from each other, Brooke and myself only get to meet up a few times a year. And when we do, it’s a catch all for birthday wishes, Merry Christmas’s, and Happy New Year’s. This year was no exception as we met up at a local library for the day after meticulous planning and much preparation. The big presents this year were decidedly authorial.

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Brooke and I pose with two of the newly printed copies of ‘Napped at Night

Although my gift pales in comparison to Brooke’s, I gave her a hand fan including the art of communication through said fans, hopefully to give her some inspiration for her books from the victorian and renaissance eras.

Not surprisingly, though, Brooke beat me. After winning NaNoWriMo in November, Brooke used her 5 free codes to print ‘Napped at Night through CreateSpace. ‘Napped at Night was the first full-length novel that Brooke and I wrote in 5th and 6th grades respectively.

The rest of the day was spent at the library (aside from a lunch break at the good ol’ Southern restaurant Crackerbarrel and a game of checkers). Doing what authors do best, we took almost two hours to just talk about books and life and the lot. Following that, we browsed the terribly unorganized library shelves, which went every which way in all kinds of orders. I honestly think they organized by title, author, and by way of dewey decimal all at the same time.

After finding some good books for Brooke (I already had my own stack at home), we went to eat, leaving Brooke’s books in quite the secure location, quoting as I placed them on the tallest shelf in the reference section, quoting from John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series as I placed it there, “People rarely look up.” Satisfied that the books were safe, we left for our lunch.

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“People rarely look up.”

When we returned, Brooke and I spent the rest of the day posing in all the likely places in the library, and after so much peering through shelves and wondering what to do next, we finally settled on a game only a couple of authors would devise. Giving ourselves five minutes (which eventually turned into 15), we confined ourselves to the Young Adult section and had to pick five titles (not paying attention to content at all, mind you) that we felt described each other. The results were amusing and filled with references to inside jokes and the books we’ve written.

I gave Brooke: Starclimber, Among the Brave, Girlfriend Material, Flygirl, and Runaway Twin. She, in turn, selected: Where Things Come BackDouble Identity, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, The Misfits, and Briar Rose.

When the last game was played, it was time for us to part. Bittersweet as always, there were farewell hugs and, at the last moment I yelled our customary sign-off, “May the stars shine upon our next meeting” to which she replied, grinning, “And may the hair on your hobbit toes grow ever longer.”

Hopefully we’ll be able to drag Brenna in on the insanity here soonly. Maybe after we can drive. That and get over our fear of cars, too. Because, let’s face it, that’s a very scary business.

Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years from Elizabeth E. Brookes!

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To Queen Evangeline of Jenelia…

13 Aug
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Brooke (letter in the top, right hand corner) and I (letter in bottom left hand corner) write letters to each other in character. The “sword” at the top is a letter opener from Medieval Times in Atlanta, Georgia.

No Knight Is Ordinary

26 Jul
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Sarah’s driveway in rural GA

It is a night like any other.

If you are in Georgia, this means it is hot, humid and there might be a breeze blowing. If you are lucky, of course. Pollen isn’t as thick as it was in Spring, though it still has a firm grip on the air. The leaves are full and the forests are thick. But, it was on a night like any other that most remarkable things happen. Maybe not in Georgia. Okay, mostly not in the sweet ol’ southern state of Georgia. Remarkable things do happen though. Things like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars happen. People like C. S. Lewis, Donita K. Paul, and Wayne Thomas Batson are born.It also happens that a very small, insignificant thing called E. E. B. happened on a night like any other. No, the world doesn’t know about it. (not yet anyway. I’m working on nefarious plots… don’t tell Brooke!) In fact, almost no one knows about it… except for you. And one or two people on Figment.

Which probably means you want an explanation.

Well, you see, my life began…

I’m kidding! We’re not going back that far. Actually, the idea of “Elizabeth E. Brookes” formed when an 8 and 9 year-old decided they wanted to write books. For a living. At 8 and 9. Granted, you don’t need to make a living when you’re 8 or 9 (Thank you parents. Now. As in — right now. You’d be more than mostly dead without them.), but said 8 and 9 year-old were determined.

They sat outside in the little ol’ school house and wrote their first story The Kids at Crystal Cove together. In a few days. It was a magical book with only a paragraph to a page and size 18 font… the not-so-eight-and-nine-year-olds might possibly be ashamed of said work. Now. Then, it was a masterpiece.

We only stole ideas from about 20 books… among them Little House on the Prairie (FYI — I can never spell “prairie” right…)  and The Chronicles of Narnia. We don’t talk about that book much anymore save in hushed whispers so that no one else can hear. (You mustn’t tell anyone else I told you about it, okay? Brooke might strangle me.)

But that wasn’t the end.

Silly parents, writing isn’t a phase.

So, about a thousand 3 hour phone conversations, 20 outlines and 11+ manuscripts later… well, I’d say Elizabeth E. Brookes was pretty unified.

What is EEB?

Well, it’s me (the insane, mentally-unstable kid of the group). And Brooke. (Brooke’s the genius of the operations, by the way.) Brenna. And Christ.

Yeah, you read this whole post just to find out we’re Christian. Strongly Christian, actually. No! Don’t run away! Not until I’ve finished!

Yes, EEB is a “group” of three teenage (now high school aged) girls who love God more than anything else. Who are determined to become published. And who became what the little 8 and 9 year-old wanted them to be — authors. Although we have massively busy schedules and a number of insane endeavors, we have all continued to write.

A lot.

As in, psychological issues will develop when we don’t write. Exciting stuff, really.

It’s an interesting, not-so-average, adventure. With our characters talking our ears off, you can expect that sanity is not among our collective traits. But we do know that this is a passion. And as we continue to write, read, and love our Savior, Jesus Christ, we hope that you’ll learn to love it as well.

It’s a long road ahead of us. But it’s the King’s Road. And He does not lead His servants astray.

 

You are welcome to explore our blog and the King’s Road!

 

If you’re not sure where to go next, here are some great places to start!

  • Check out our About Page to find out more about who and what EEB is and stands for!
  • Each of us have what Sarah decided to call a “desk” where we keep you informed on what we’re doing. Desks are a place where you can ask us as individuals any questions you may have, and also a place where you can preview some of our latest work!
  • The Archives are a place where you can find all of our posts sorted into neat categories that have to do with the subject matter discusses. The archives also serve as a place where you can see the most recent posts and scan through them quickly.

 

We’re so glad you’re here and can’t wait to start getting to know you!