The Co-Authoring Process
As promised, we've been answering A LOT of reader questions as we get ready to release the fourth and final book in The Ending Series. Many of you have similar questions, so we thought we'd post some of them here for you to peruse. Depending on what you already know about Team Lindsey, you may or may not be surprised by what our co-authorship looks like...
1. How does the writing process work with two authors?
It's morphed a bit since book one, but essentially we brainstorm together (in person) and then we outline the book by characters and storylines. Sticky notes and google docs are VERY helpful in this. After, we start writing and continue to check in with each other as we write and read each other's chapters. This way we can make sure we're on the "same page" so to speak.
Also, we both write our own camp of characters. For example, LP writes Zoe chapters and her characters include, Harper, Sanchez, Tavis, Sam, Jake, Becca, Sarah, Clara, etc. and LF writes Dani chapters, Jason, Chris, Carlos, Gabe, Vanessa, animals, Mase, Grayson, Ky, etc.) However, when our characters crossover into each other's chapters, like Jake being in a Dani chapter, for example, LF will write her version of Jake's responses and LP will come in and make sure his reactions and dialogue are true to his character. Now that we're on book four, we know the characters so well and there's generally little altering needed. Then there are characters, like Dr. Wesley and General Herodson, that we both write. They aren't really "one person's" character, as we've created them together.
2. Do you ever disagree on the direction of a character or the plot?
We definitely have different ideas about how things should progress or what should happen in between major plot points now and again, but we talk about them and figure out a compromise--why it would or wouldn't work. Sometimes we leave the questionable pieces of the story in the first draft for beta readers to comment on during the first read-through. If they don't think something fits or works, we change it so that it does.
3. Do you market the book any differently with it having two authors?
No, not really. It's pretty much the same. We used to have the edge of how "different" we were with two authors, especially with us having the same name, but now it seems more and more common for a book or series to have co-authors. And, writing together is actually a tad more difficult to market in some cases. It helps that we both have our own websites and blogs and author platforms in which we can market our work. But sometimes forms or publishing accounts or listings that we're signing up for only have room for one author's name, so it's difficult to keep both of our names connected to the project at times. Since we decided to list our name in alphabetic order, LF is generally the name that's attached, but LP's gotten used to it over the last four years. It is what it is.
4. Which do you prefer, writing as a sole author or writing with another author?
There are definitely perks to both. When you're co-authoring, there's someone to partner with, who's invested in the project as much as you are. It's nice to have someone helping you celebrate the good and shoulder the bad. But it's also difficult given our different schedules and pace of working.
We both write our own stories. LF loves writing paranormal, so it's great for her to be able to focus on her solo projects and really spread her wings and get crazy and, well, paranormal. LP is much more conventional in her writing in that she likes to write historical and contemporary romance with a dash of adventure. While we both love The Ending Series, it will be really nice to explore our own stories, the ones that have been on hold over the past few years. As far as preference writing solo or together, they are two very different beasts. We both agree that it's nice to have a break from each once in a while. It's nice to have both options.
5. Does one Author “take the lead” or do you both have equal input into the writing of the book and it’s marketing?
We both have equal say and mostly share the load across the board.
6. How do you decide who writes which part of the book?
We decide what we want our character arcs to be, agree that they work together and fit into the goal of the story, then we pretty much plan our own chapters, as long as we're clear on the overlapping pieces and what we need our characters to accomplish or experience together. Sorry, that was a long sentence :) Again, we plan out our chapters ahead of time, and we read each other's as we go so that we know where to pick up and where the other left off. This is VERY important when our characters are together.
7. Are there certain traits or an interview-type process you go through when choosing authors to co-write with? Or is it a less technical approach with two author friends deciding to co-write?
For us, it was an organic, logical step given our hobbies and friendship at the time, a step that has since turned into something bigger than we had originally expected. There was no formal process, though we have a recommendation for anyone jumping into a project with someone else. We were lucky in many ways, but we've also learned a lot that might help other authors ruminating the idea of co-authorship: pay close attention to a potential co-author's work ethic, their pace, their ability to communicate, their attention and dedication to their projects, etc. because all of those things are important. We wouldn't have been so successful or gotten so far without being able to work together the way we have. It's not easy, so make sure your writing partner is someone you trust and foresee in your writing career long-haul...once you publish a book, you're tied together.
8. Do you ever get together in the same room to do the writing or is it all done via computers?
With LP in California and LF in Washington, we try to meet up at least twice during a project--initial brainstorming before we start writing and the final read-through and publishing of the book. Other than that it's all emails and video chats for us.