Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Surprise Partnership

I am about to finish the final proofing of a book that came my way through an illustrator I've worked with for several years. The writer, a retired investigative reporter in need of an edit, shares that occupation with the protagonist in a story I began 15 years ago.I mentioned my partially completed novel, and he wanted to read the prologue. After perusing it, he asked to be part of the project. His enthusiasm inspired me to move my story from the shelf to the top of my books-to-finish list.

Partnering with another writer has crossed my mind a number of times over the years, but I never seriously pursued the idea with anyone. It has been said we should write what we know. In lieu of first-hand knowledge, however, we may want to venture into unfamiliar situations and locations requiring extensive research.

Historical fiction is a good example of reaching out beyond our personal experience, and our partners become those who lived and wrote at the time our story takes place. In addition, numerous volumes have been penned by others who have researched the past and recorded events and customs of those times. We also have to keep in mind that many readers of this genre are also history buffs. The need for extensive and meticulous research becomes a must if we are to appeal to such a discerning audience. Partners can be a huge help when research needs to be done.


A side benefits of my new partnership will be getting the male point of view. My protagonist is a man who has just retired from his job as a foreign correspondent and accepted an offer from a local news anchor to work as her investigator. Now, I will be able to present him more realistically with input from my partner, who has spent decades working on and reporting high-profile stories. He will bring insight, reality, and reaction to my protagonist beyond what I could glean from research alone.

The idea of working with a writing partner doesn't come without a bit of trepidation. Personalities and writing styles may play into the mix, as well as ideas about how the story should go. While most of my stories fall into the category of women's fiction, this one will venture toward the thriller realm. Based on conversations with the man I'll be partnering with, as well as what I've gleaned from his non-fiction book, he has lived literally on the edge, dealing with people in all manners of lifestyle about which I have no knowledge. Not only will this be a fun project, it also promises to be an exciting adventure.

Editor Linda Lane has returned to her first love—writing—while maintaining her editing work. Most of her novels fall into the women's fiction category, but she will be venturing into the thriller realm with a new book scheduled for release late this year. You can contact her through her websites: LSLaneBooks.com and DenverEditor.com.


9 comments :

  1. There are so many ways for writers to partner with others. I especially like your comment about partnering with a man to broaden that point-of-view accuracy. There are three men in my writers' group, so we all receive a great benefit from the critiques when we're writing opposite-gender characters.

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    1. I found out the value of having a male beta reader when one told me a few years ago that a man would not have taken an action one of my male characters did--an action that seemed perfectly normal to me. Since I want to tap into the guy-reader market too, I now make sure to get a genuine male POV.

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  2. Sounds like an exciting project! I have never co-authored, but I could not write without my critique group's input.

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    1. Co-authoring will be a new experience for me. I look forward to seeing how it works out.

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  3. I agree with you that getting the male perspective is so helpful for us women writers, especially when writing stories with male leads. That was so true for me when collaborating with men on film scripts. Good luck with your project.

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    1. Creating an emotional mood that rings true is challenging. For example, I've seen men cry, but I don't always understand what brought them to that point. Anger? Frustration? Loss of a loved one? Pain? Are their reactions to stress and trauma really very different from women's? My husband cried when he learned a favorite nephew had died, but I don't recall his shedding tears at any other time. The main emotion I saw in him for over 40 years was anger--which, I suspect, covered a variety of other feelings. (But I don't know that for certain.)

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  4. Good luck with your project, Linda. My friend collaborated with a top cop on a story. He knew what he wanted, wrote it out, and she smoothed the prose. I had a bit of input as far as the story went, but only when I saw something off. It turned out very well, and they published it.

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  5. Sounds like an amazing project, Linda! I wish you and your writing partner the best! Looking forward to reading it...

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.