As a writer and editor, I’m a firm believer in trying new things, in stretching and reaching for new goals. The creative process never stops processing, and every author knows the learning curve doesn’t stop just because they have published a novel. Growth is vital.
New authors have a lot to deal with, from figuring out their writing voice to choosing their meant-to-be genre. Even for the most creative writer who is jammed with ideas just bursting from their brains, downloading them into actual words is daunting. Once the book is written, the author can relax and concentrate on the next challenge, right?
Well, sure. Because regardless of what’s going on with the manuscript you just finished writing, you need to move on to the next project, and then the next after that. If you’re serious about a writing career, you never stop whether you have yet to sell a book or whether you’ve sold several.
As I said already, I believe in stretching. For some writers that means they’ll try writing in a different genre. For me personally, it meant partnering. A writer’s voice and words are precious to them. But what happens when they share their voice and words with another writer? Ecstasy or tragedy? Or maybe a little of both?
In 2014 fellow Soul Matey and forever BFF Cheryl Yeko and I decided to give it a go. After all, we shared a love of the same genres, and our writing process as well as style seemed similar. Why not write together and see what happens? We chose Western Contemporary as a genre, plotted an outline, and began. The result, a self-published novella titled Rodeo King, taught us a heck of a lot about partnering. We learned it wasn’t for everyone, but lucky for us, it was a perfect vehicle for our combined talents, and cemented an already strong friendship.
In 2015 we decided to create a pen name and write in edgier romance genres, and CiCi Cordelia was born. Our debut under CiCi releases in late January, the sensual novella Sweet Equation, which can be found in Soul Mate’s newest anthology collection, CHERISHED SECRETS.
Partnering can be tricky. Egos have to be banished to a back room during the creative process. Fair play is paramount. Spotlight sharing must be equal, as well as marketing and promotional planning. Everything gets split right down the middle, so if the prospective writer-partners aren’t willing to start there, chances are the process is doomed before it begins. It’s all teamwork, and not everyone can play successfully on a team.
What I discovered about partnering surprised me. I am by nature a loner, an introvert, a closet hermit who can squirrel away for weeks at a time, and quite happily. But all of a sudden I had someone to ‘report’ to, and it changed my inner focus. It altered my own writing procedure, the way I edit myself, even stretching to the way I complete my job as an acquiring editor. I also found I had a talent for partnering. But as with anything else, it all depends on the partner, and the capability for compromise.
For anyone thinking about partnering, here’s a checklist for you.
First, make sure your partner and you agree on the genre you choose, whether it’s one you write in or one you both want to try for the first time. A similar writing voice helps a lot. I’m not going to say it’s the most important thing in the world for a writing partnership, but it sure can’t hurt. If all you do during the process is fight against each other’s voice, you’ll never get anywhere.
And speaking of voice, understand from the beginning that your partner will not always agree with your words, your vision, when plotting and then writing anything from the outline to actual chapters. Obviously compromise is a given, but it’s sometimes easier to think compromise than it is to actually implement it, so keep your minds wide open.
Just as the writing process must be shared equally, so must the story plotting. Creative resentment can build too easily unless both partners split everything fairly. If you can’t do this at the onset, imagine what it’ll be like later on down the line when marketing, promo, etc., comes into play. ::shudder::
When it works, a writing partnership is amazing. You feed each other both emotionally and creatively, and that common goal suddenly becomes more attainable when it’s not only you who wants it so badly.
For any author thinking about partnering, I’d certainly encourage it. Try something with a smaller word count as a start, to see if you’re compatible with another writer. Play around and have fun with it. Let those creative juices really flow. It might not be right for you, of course.
But what if it is?
Char Chaffin is multi-published and a Senior Acquiring Editor with Soul Mate Publishing. Along with fellow Soul Mate author and Senior Acquisitions Editor Cheryl Yeko, she makes up one-half of CiCi Cordelia, Writing From The Heart.
Finding CiCi: Go Here!
CHERISHED SECRETS, Available for Pre-Order, Here: