There are a number of husband-wife writing teams out there, and it’s always a fun to gauge people’s reactions. For some, working with your spouse on a creative project might be an exciting and awesome accomplishment. For others, it might seem like unnecessary torture.
JHubbs and I began kicking around the idea of our YA paranormal novel after Twilight reached its insane level of success and earning power. We write because it’s kind of hard to win the lottery or to hit the jackpot at an online casino, and we — you know — love to write and create stories. If you think you and your spouse might have a book in your future, here are some lessons we’ve learned as we write:
Identify your strengths as individuals
JHubbs can write a chilling horror scene, while grammar and word choice leaves him scratching his head. I also have a knack for editorial and plot structure choices. Our best arrangement is to discuss the book at length (so that I can get a feel for JHubb’s vision of the story), then I go to town on our draft and leave breadcrumb scenes for Josh to Write. That way we’re both working on the book at the same time (which is very efficient) and we’re both using our talents (me: organizing, JHubbs: content production). When JHubbs is tired or has written all of his scenes, I go back through and tweak, edit, add language, etc.
Set a word count goal
Depending on your genre, you will have a variety of word count goals. Here are a few examples from around the web:
paranormal romance 85-100K
YA fiction 45-80K
mysteries & thrillers 75-90K
adult fiction 80-100K
adult nonfiction 90-100K
(generated from The Swivet)
Reach the word count goal by whatever means necessary
Since I was in charge of organizing and continuity, JHubbs would email me his “writing assignments” and I would merge them into the main document, leaving them highlighted for future editing. This safeguards against introducing 1000 word bits only to get lost in the flow of a huge word document.
Plan your plot structure
We used a classic W plot structure (with intertwining W plots) to give our novel the ins and outs that we wanted and to provide for as much character development as possible. You might you usually prefer a book to a movie, well, this is why! To make a movie, script writers often drop a few parts of the W to make a more traditional (and simple) triangle diagram.
Refine and prioritize
Once you have reached your word count goal and all the parts of the story are in the correct place, then you work the piece for transitions, small touches, refinement, and continuity.