Wednesday, June 1, 2016


By Tracy Kiely

I’ve read interviews with authors who co-write books and often wondered if I could ever do the same. In theory, it sounds like a great idea. I would have a willing partner to discuss ideas and scene set up.  (The “willing” part of this scenario is particularly appealing to me. I’ve found that family and friends are only so tolerant about discussing the minutia of plot points.) I would also have someone to offset my bouts of writer’s block and give me a kick in the ass when my innate laziness threatens to derail our deadline. In my head, my perfect partner would be a whiz at plotting – which is my Achilles’ Heal – and I would lend my talent for dialog so that together we would create a wildly successful series.  Oprah would even host a special show just so she could rave about our books tell all her viewers to run out and buy them.
And, if I’m going to go all out with this fantasy world, I’ll just add that my hair always looks amazing and peanut M&Ms make me lose weight.
But this ideal partnership works only if I am pared with a brilliantly talented, tolerant and patient partner; a kind of Mary Poppins of the written word. And that’s the main problem I think I’d have with a writing partnership; it’s hard to see what I would bring to the table that would entice someone to partner with me. 
And, of course, then there’s the whole problem of what happens when it’s your partner who needs the encouragement, the push, the creative kick in the ass? It’s hard enough to motivate myself some days. How could I possibly also motivate someone else? Writing can be a strange, isolated experience. You are in your own head for hours at a time, arguing back and forth with yourself over a plot point, or merely trying to find your way out of a meandering scene. Ultimately, you find your answer (hopefully), but I’ve noticed that when I’m stuck and ask for advice, I rarely like what I’m offered. The “correct” answer for me is one that dances on the edge of my consciousness, and I’m not happy until I’m able to grab it.
In other words, I’m a nightmare to work with when it’s just me. I really can’t see anyone wanting to team up with Team Crazy for more than a lunch date.
But, if Mary Poppins were to land on my roof with her magic umbrella and loads of plot points, then yes I would happily team up.


Meredith Cole said...

Mary Poppins as your writing partner--I like it! Although the whole flying thing might be distracting (and get in the way of getting some serious work done)...

Catriona McPherson said...

As long as she didn't bring Deek Ven Doik to derail your dialogue with his "cockney" accent.

Susan C Shea said...

You started me thinking about appealing fantasy writing partners. How about Elizabeth Bennet?