I’m still overwhelmed with life and not doing much writing on my own. So, I asked a question I’ve often wondered about: how do authors co-write? I’m not going to marry Ken Schrader, but I do want to write a story with him. Some day.
Co-Writing Without Homicide
By Gail Z. Martin
My husband, Larry N. Martin, and I have been working together full time from home since the end of 2010, and we’re both still alive.
Larry has always been a part of my writing, but when he was working full-time in a corporate job, he had less time, and so often didn’t have the chance to get involved early in the process, or for more than a few read-overs late in the game. Even so, his feedback, insights and brainstorm was always very valuable.
After 2010, Larry was able to get actively involved in multiple projects on different levels. He does a lot of the behind-the-scenes editing and continuity, and until the last year or so, he did all the covers for our short stories and novellas that came out in ebook. He tracks royalties, and puts together a lot of the promotional art and graphics.
But a bigger change was that Larry and I started to do more co-writing, to the point where everything now is pretty much a joint effort, regardless of whose name goes on the cover (which is a branding decision). We collaborate on brainstorming, plotting, getting unstuck on plot issues, revisions, and pretty much everything. It’s this collaboration that has enabled us to bring out more books, more quickly and still keep quality high. (Plus we have an awesome team of beta readers, editors, cover artists, ARC readers and promotional partners.)
We’ll often (but not always) brainstorm the fist book in a series together, which is a great use of the long car ride to take our son to his out-of-state college or visit distant relatives. Armed with a 12 hour drive and a yellow legal pad, we have been known to outline up to three novels and/or prep three new series. It’s a great way to pass the time, and it makes use of a day that would otherwise be spent counting cows.
I’ll usually take the first pass, writing the outline and synopsis, which we’ll discuss and adjust, and then a first draft. Then Larry will go through the draft, making comments and adjustments. Sometimes he’ll write in the new stuff, and other times he’ll leave me a comment to do it on my next pass. We’ve done this enough that we can’t tell on the final documents who wrote which parts. We go back and forth like this until it’s as clean as we can make it, and then it goes to the editor and beta readers.
Once we get their feedback, it goes to Larry to consolidate and make any non-controversial changes and changes that don’t require significant rewriting. Then I get it again to make any bigger changes, and back and forth we go until it’s clean again. At that point, it either gets published (if it’s one we are doing indie), or it goes to the publisher (where it will go through another round of editing/revisions). Then the ARC readers/book reviewers get it, with hope that they will like it and review. We use the same process for novellas, although short stories don’t usually go for beta/edit, largely because of time.
It’s never fun when you’re down to the wire on deadline, but even then, I can’t imagine anything else we’d rather be doing. And by refining our collaboration process, we’re able to get more books into readers’ hands faster, which is good for everyone!
She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities and Tangled Web. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.
Gail’s work has appeared in over 35 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Heroes, Space, Contact Light, With Great Power, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Cinched: Imagination Unbound, Realms of Imagination, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens, Gaslight and Grimm, Baker Street Irregulars, Journeys, Hath no Fury and A Haven Harbor Halloween.
About the books:
A Darkhurst Novel
In a city beset by monsters, three brothers must find out who is controlling the abominations.
The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and advantageous trading terms. Lord Mayor Ellor Machison wields assassins, blood witches, and forbidden magic to assure that his powerful patrons get what they want, no matter the cost.
Corran, Rigan, and Kell Valmonde are Guild Undertakers, left to run their family’s business when guards murdered their father and monsters killed their mother. Their grave magic enables them to help souls pass to the After and banish vengeful spirits. Rigan’s magic is unusually strong and enables him to hear the confessions of the dead, the secrets that would otherwise be taken to the grave.
When the toll exacted by monsters and brutal guards hits close to home and ghosts expose the hidden sins of powerful men, Corran, Rigan and Kell become targets in a deadly game and face a choice: obey the Guild, or fight back and risk everything.
- ISBN-10: 1781085587
- ISBN-13: 978-1781085585
Vengeance (Winner of the Manly Wade Wellman Award!)
A Darkhurst Novel (Book 2)
Fighting the monsters that killed their family and friends cost undertaker brothers Corran and Rigan Valmonde their home and livelihood and made them wanted men—but the worst is yet to come.
The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and the best trading terms. Ambitious and ruthless leaders use betrayal and assassination to gain their ends. Blood magic conjures monsters to further the goals of the ruling class, and the price of stolen power is paid for by the deaths of commoners. Now, the fate of Ravenwood hangs in the balance as rival city-states maneuver to gain advantage.
When Corran and Rigan and their friends became outlaw monster hunters and fled beyond the walls of Ravenwood City, they thought they had defeated the source of the abominations that killed so many of their friends and loved ones. But the more successful they become at destroying the creatures, the more they realize a greater evil is at work – larger and more monstrous than they ever could imagine…Scourge:
- ISBN-10: 1939704758
- ISBN-13: 978-1939704757