How I Write Fiction With Another Person
OR: I Love My Co-Writer
OR: Sneak Peek behind the Wanderer of Worlds Fantasy Series
Linda and I have known each other since we were fifteen years old. She’s been reading my stories since I was sixteen years old. We have been writing together ever since we were both eighteen years old. That kind of writing history is rare. I won’t use the word unique because I’m sure there are other writers out there who’ve written together since childhood. There’s certainly a famous friendship along these lines: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck grew up as childhood friends together and they wrote and starred in a movie together, Good Will Hunting. So it exists, these friendships with long histories.
I’ve always been fascinated with parallel worlds and multiverses. It was only natural for me to explain my desire to write it with Linda. Together, in our late teens, we created a character each, put them both in a world together and wrote in longhand all of their experiences travelling through worlds together. We called them ‘Wanderers’ and called our story ‘Wanderer of Worlds’. Perhaps not the most creative title, but certainly upfront and the most apt. (I’m a big believer that the creativity should be in the pages and the title should suit the story).
We took turns. I would write for my character, Daeson, detailing what he thought, said and did, then I would hand it over to Linda who would write for Synjan, detailing what she thought, said and did. Of course the point of view changes were horrendous, but at that stage we were having fun. We wrote perhaps 150K words that way, to the end. I’m a bit hazy on how long that took, but I suspect three years. Those years were enough for us to realise that what we’d written was immature and needed a lot of work.
So we started writing it again. In longhand, again. This time we gave our characters better histories. We gave the worlds we’d invented more depth. We added different characters and took away others. Hawke finally came into being and the story took a new turn, though the setting stayed the same. We were onto something. We got about halfway through that version and it was longer… so much longer.
This doesn’t count all the playful conversations we had. For fun, instead of writing together, we invented parallel stories starring our three characters. We had scenarios like: What if they’re all circus people? (Yes, really). What if they grew up with different people? What if Synjan lived on Femme?
All those conversations and parallel storylines and different versions both enhanced our understanding of every world and scenario and the characters reactions to things; however, it also made the ‘correct’ storyline difficult to keep straight. Instead of just knowing how the story went, we were forced to plan every scene… and I’m glad we did.
We’ve written this series countless of times, but we’ve never finished it beyond the very first attempt. This time, we’ve planned out every scene and instead of taking turns and spoiling POV, we’re now writing our scenes separately and keeping to the rules of the writing craft.
Even though this is a journey we’ve been on many times before, it’s still new… because this time, we’re determined to set it free.
Wanderer of Worlds is anticipated for release December 2014. Read the blurb and check out all the covers at my website: http://www.deliastrange.com/books/wandererofworlds/