Co-Writing: Like Riding A Bicycle Built For Two

After more than a decade of writing and co-authoring a small library of novels together, our readers are still curious to know, how do the two of us write as one? You’ve even shared a lot of your own interesting theories about this over the years, including one in particular that springs from the knowledge that we are often mistaken for sisters or twins; this familial notion suggests that we share a telepathic bond that facilitates the blending of our respective literary voices into one. That would be so awesome, but sadly, the idea is far from reality. The truth is, there is nothing at all mysterious about our partnership. We are simply two friends figuratively sharing a tandem bicycle, pedaling separately but powering forward in unison. And, just like riding in synch, writing together is also an exercise in practice, patience, and persistence.

If you have ever played a sport, taken a music lesson or attempted to learn a new skill of any kind, then you know that practice makes perfect is more than a mere idiom, it is an irrefutable truth. Each time we embark on a new creative journey, the knowledge and experience we gained from our earlier works serves to benefit the next. For example, our first book, Second Chances, taught us the import of running a title search before assigning one, it’s the difference between being a one-and-only or a one-in-a-million. Suffice it to say, our Second Chances is not the only novel so named though non-objectively speaking, it may very well be the best.

Patience is not only a virtue, it is a requirement of co-authoring and a key ingredient to our recipe for writing well, together. It is easy to have patience when there is a plan in place, so before we even lay a finger on the keyboard, we get organized. For us, that means preparing a comprehensive outline of premise and plot, something we call story mapping. Not for the faint of heart, this complex and arduous process is a push-me-pull-you of verbal brainstorming, conceptual challenges and thoughtful deliberation. Equipped with sharp pencils for hand-cramping note taking, and thick skins – because sometimes there really can be a bad idea — we develop together the singular and strategic framework that will indisputably and peaceably, guide our narrative writing.

With three novels, and soon-to-be four, under our belts, our co-authoring skills continue to grow simply from a commitment to helping each other be the best writer she can be, a resolve to create stories that entertain and satisfy readers as much as they do us, and a promise to ourselves to keep writing fun. In a word, persistence. When people ask us which of our stories is our favorite, our answer is always the same: the next one. Because for these two friends, nothing is quite as exciting as setting our imaginary bicycle for two on an inspired new path and pedaling in tandem to see where it takes us.

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