Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Two For One

It’s not that unusual to write with another person and there is at least one other pocketeer who has successfully experienced working in partnership. It might be interesting for you to know how we work together, as writing can be a very lonely business.
Obviously there are both pros and cons to working with someone else. On the plus side, there are deadlines to meet or the other person is let down. It is very useful to be able to bounce ideas off each other and, funnily enough or perhaps not, there hasn’t been one argument between us in all the time we have been writing together. Often our thoughts pre-empt the other’s. If we become blocked we usually put ‘blah’ and the other one will supply, if not the correct word, then something which will ignite a train of thought. Between us there is a voice of reason which keeps us on the straight and narrow and focussed.
Our stories are planned in great detail as although having the same thoughts is a possibility it can’t always be relied on. Complete profiles with pictures for the main characters are essential.
Useful research is shared along with feedback from various writing magazines, workshops and events which have been attended separately.
On a slightly more frivolous note it is fun meeting up and we look forward to each other’s emails which can veer into quite different topics and brighten our day. We provide consolation when a rejection drops onto the doormat or into the inbox. And jump up and down via email when an acceptance arrives. Mary’s emoticons have become characters with lives of their own.
Every once in a while we challenge each other out of our comfort zones by encouraging writing in a different genre. It paid off as that was how Ruth had a wonderful poem published.
On the minus side the writing inevitably takes us longer as we have to wait for the piece to come back from the other person. Sometimes we are conscious of holding each other back when family life gets in the way. We do, of course, understand and try to treat ourselves and each other kindly.
Someone said that writers shouldn’t expect the writing process to be fun. By working together it is double the fun.


  1. This is a fascinating look into collaborating, Mary and Ruth. I'm not sure I could do it as I'm too much of a control freak. And I've seen some pretty horrendous collaborations in the past. On one forum where they were all taking part in a collaborative story things were going really well. It was turning into a sort of noir gangster story, and very exciting it was too. Until someone decided that underneath their human faces the gangsters were actually giant lizard men... It was definitely a case of back to the drawing board with that one!

    But it clearly works well for you two and I hope to read more by Patricia Keyson soon!

  2. Hi Mary and Ruth, really interesting stuff. I have thought of collaborating and have chatted with people in the past but I think it must be a real challenge if you are not actually physically close to chat things through. I know Nicci French is a partnership between husband and wife which I guess can work well and present challenges in equal amounts! It would be very nice sometimes though to have someone who truly understands one's story and can help with blockages.

  3. Thanks for your comments. We were physically together today but gossiping and giggling instead of working!