Saturday, 6 November 2010

Guest Post - S. L. Armstrong - Collaborative Writing

Guest Post Goodness! I've been looking forward to today's guest poster for weeks; I'm fascinated by the whole idea of writing in conjunction with another author. It's something I've considered doing before, and would love to try at some point.

But is it practical? Fabulous Indie writer S. L. Armstrong, 50% of the creative talent of Storm Moon Press is here to explain the practicalities of co-writing....

When Chris told me I’d be welcome to add his blog to my blog tour, the topic was a natural one for me. When Chris and I first met, he asked me a bit about what it was like co-authoring with someone. You can’t really explain that in 140 characters, though, so this is my chance to answer that question in detail.

I write with K. Piet on 98% of my fiction. I met her quite a number of years ago when I wrote fanfiction. She was a fan of my work and would often leave me feedback on an old Livejournal, and we conversed a few times in email. Eventually, though, I grew tired of fanfiction and began to write my own fiction, and she followed me as a fan through that transition. About three years ago, I fell into a lull where original fiction was difficult for my brain to conjure and I reverted to role playing. I dragged K. along for that ride and, for almost a year, we role played together using characters from a fandom we both loved.

When the role playing sparked our desire to write fanfiction together, it came easily to us. We began to write AU fanfiction for our fandom, but I quickly grew restless with that as AU fanfiction has never made much sense to me. If we were going to only use the setting the original author created and not the characters, then why not just write our own stuff? K. took a little convincing, as she’d never written before that, but I felt she had a great talent for it. Within weeks, we’d taken my idea for a fantasy world called Egaea that I’d been working on and off for a year on and blew it out into a true world filled with characters.

This cover is awesome!

However, Egaea is a long-term project that will take us years to see to fruition, and we wanted to write and publish other stuff in the meantime. We wrote the initial drafts of The Keeper and Rachmaninoff in late 2008-early 2009, and then sat on the drafts until March of 2010 when we went into business together and formed Storm Moon Press LLC.

It’s been a hell of a journey, I’ll say that, and it’s not always been smiles and happy times. There was a brief rupture between us in April of 2009 that led to us not writing together for about six months, and we didn’t return to our manuscripts with the intent to publish until 2010. It was stressful, I’ll admit, because as much joy that comes with having the interaction of writing with another author, there is the grief that comes when there is a serious falling out. When your work is tied to another person, the loss of that relationship can—and often does—leave unfinished works in limbo.

Luckily, K. and I were able to come to terms we both could live with. I have a very exhausting drive which can wear thin on K., and she has other commitments (family and job) that can frustrate me when we’re looking down the barrel of a deadline. I don’t do well with changes to our routine sprung on me at the last minute, and K. has trouble with feeling as if she’s meeting all my expectations. It can be very stressful and hard, but the rewards are well worth all the trouble.

What rewards, right? Well, for me, there is nothing better than working with someone to develop characters, to form a story. There is such motivation in having someone else involved, to receive instant feedback on any idea you might share. I can’t tell you the number of nights K. and I have stayed up excitedly discussing our next idea or spent on IMs working out how characters interact with each other. I think the best aspect of co-writing with someone is the interactive nature writing then takes on. It becomes a living thing, not an insular, inverted process.

I wouldn’t change how we write. We each have our own projects we write on singularly—usually short stories or little writing exercises—but for the most part, we write together. It’s the together I love, and I have such a great relationship with K. that I can’t imagine not writing without her. We’re in business together, we write together, and we’re great friends. We plan on taking it a step further and move in together so the writing and publishing goes more smoothly. Right now, our biggest obstacle is that I’m in Florida while she’s in Arizona, and having both our personal friendship and our professional relationship 95% virtual wears on us both.

So, yeah. Co-writing is stressful, frustrating, and hard, but at the same time it’s incredibly rewarding, fun, and so very easy. From conception of an idea to the ultimate publication of a novel, it’s interactive, instantaneous, and social, which is something I found missing in my solitary writing days. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. :)

Another Awesome Cover!
Cast the Cards is currently available from Storm Moon Press in various e-book formats as well as a print volume.

The themes and forces represented by Tarot cards are said to govern our lives and our destinies. The story of the cards is the story of our lives -- the accomplishments and the pitfalls, the path from soaring joy to crushing defeat and back again. "Cast the Cards" is a collection of six all-new short stories that explore snapshots of remarkable individuals trying to make their way along that path.

We would like to thank Chris Kelly for the opportunity to visit and share our thoughts!

You're welcome.

You can find me at or on Twitter, or K. Piet at or on Twitter. :)

1 comment:

  1. Your books sound great; I look forward in reading them.

    Tracey D