Enjoy this post by my guests, the husband and wife team of the Hutchissons! Their fine example of working together can be applied to almost any activity in life. Go team!
“Two heads are better than one.” That’s a saying everyone is familiar with, though I honestly doubt many people have seen it put into practice. When you watch a football game everyone talks about how great the quarterback is, even though a game would be quite boring if he had to try and throw the ball to himself. Baseball teams have ‘Star’ players, even though they are a team. The lead in a Hollywood movie is all anyone can talk about when it becomes a blockbuster. And when a novel hits the Best Seller list, the cover usually only has one name on it. I’ve even read about authors who write a book together and then publish it under a single pseudonym.
Writing is not a lonely art. Though, as I’m writing this I’m thinking that all forms of art shouldn’t be considered lonely. The artist is never alone when they are working on their art, even if there is no one else in the room. For writers, our characters keep us company and because we created them, they are usually very good company.
No single person is perfect. Even the authors whose work normally sits on the Best Seller lists have editors, proof readers and people in their lives who can be brutally honest about their work. At least I hope they have those people. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and finding someone whose strengths compliment your weakness can be the difference between getting published and not getting published.
My wife and I have found what works for us. I am the idea person. Before we discovered Microsoft OneNote, I had a small notebook that was full of ideas for stories. At one time I had over 80 different story ideas. But the work I’ve done on my own suffers when it comes to details. Sometimes its unintentional, I’ll be in a good spot in one of my stories and be writing so fast just to get everything out so I don’t forget anything that I’ll gloss over the little details. Unfortunately those ‘details’ sometimes include character and world descriptions.
But that is what Jess is very good at. She can spot a place where further description would make a scene or character seem that much more alive and real. She can even take a gap in a story that I left intentionally because I wasn’t sure what should go there and fill it with something that feels so right I can’t believe I couldn’t see it.
For Full Moon Rising I came up with the idea for the story and wrote the rough draft. Jess then went through it more times than either of us can count and smoothed out the rough edges, gave the characters more depth and added a lot to the overall story. We don’t always work on the story at separate times, though.
About a week before we planned to publish Full Moon Rising, Jess told me that the ending of the book felt weak. At that time the ending of the book, the last chapter and a half, was in version 3. She told me that the last time I had made a few changes to it, made the end feel rushed and easy. Doing something different than we had done before, we worked through that whole scene together.
Passing the laptop back and forth, I would add a minor scene, change some dialogue and add some action. Then, she would change something, add some more dialogue adjust something that didn’t make sense and change how a character reacted to an event. Along with both of us laughing at an odd misspelt word that the computer didn’t catch, we did this for about six hours one evening. When we were finished, we had an ending to Full Moon Rising that we both loved. During that time we had also come up with an Epilogue for it that we loved.
Thinking back on that evening makes us smile. We both really enjoyed working together like that. It was something new to us and something that we could not have experienced if we weren’t working on the story together. Our strengths make us who we are and our weaknesses give the other person a chance to help. Working separately we spent many years writing without getting published. Working together, we spent about a year on Full Moon Rising and published it. Now we are working on the sequel, which we refer to as Book Two for the time being. I know that working together, we will be able to create something that is just as good as the first book and be able to get it out there sometime this year. Working together I know that we can do anything we put our minds to.
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