Plotting in tandem

Everyone knows you dream up a plot, write it down and then check it works afterwards. Where it doesn’t, you tweak it till it’s okay.

That’s fine with one author, but as I said before, the author of Scordril – Kelsey Drake – is two of us. That halves the trouble sometimes and doubles the trouble at others. Let me explain.

When you’re desperately thinking up what could happen next that would be interesting and exciting, being one person can be hard. But with two of us working together, I can tell you it was the most fun possible! 

This is how it worked. We threw suggestions at each other and then made them twice as good by altering them. After that, we wrote reminders of these events on pieces of card, labelled 1, 2, 3 etc. When we’d worked out the detail of each event, we wrote it as As and Bs and Cs between the main numbers. This helped us keep track of the story, so that it wouldn’t matter who ended up writing that section. We both kept a copy of the cards and it worked fine.

So what was the trouble that doubled?

Well, this was really logistics – the “getting it written” bit. When one of us finished writing, we had to send the new work (not often a whole chapter, just a few thousand words till we felt like stopping) via email to the other person. 

Easy? Not at all. The second person might read and disagree with some words or phrases, and then they’d mark up their suggested changes in red or green to stand out. Then we’d have to meet up somewhere for coffee (with a print-out) and go through it until we agreed. Next, someone had to record the final version in the master copy. And that was all before the second person could start writing their own section! 

It sometimes felt that we did more electronic faffing than writing. It was twice the trouble – but believe me, it made the book stronger and better.

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