Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Guest Blogger Paul Deane - Working Together is Grown-Up Play (On Writing Collaboration)

As many of you know, I'm one part of a writing team, the other part being my amazing friend Tina Moss. One of my first posts when I started this blog was on Collaborative Writing, in which I talked about how it helped me personally and what our process was for writing our first novel together.

Today, I'm super excited to have a guest blogger, and agent mate from Literary Counsel, Paul Deane, who shares his collaborative journey with co-author Kimbra W. Gish.

Paul, take it away!

 Working Together is Grown-Up Play

Most people are very surprised when they learn that Kimbra and I are coauthors of a novel. They give me a funny look, and ask how we manage it.

It seems that they think of writing as a very solitary act, something people do by themselves. They're wrong, of course -- writing is all about having good beta readers and critique partners. But they wonder how anyone could give up any creative control over something that takes so much personal investment as a novel.

I don't know how other writing teams do it. But Kimbra and I started writing in an environment where collaboration was the norm. You see, we met on a text role-playing game, where each player writes their own character in a growing, ongoing fictional world. Writing your character in that kind of world isn't the same thing at ALL as writing a novel, but it does foster a certain mindset. You know you don't own the scene. You own your contribution. The events of the world emerge as a kind of interactive fiction, and the quality of the experience is determined entirely by the skills of the players. When it goes right, the back and forth and the interaction create a magical experience.

 That kind of creative dance is what our relationship started with. It was all about creating conditions for the other person's ideas to bloom into a thousand new possibilities. We worked well together. We sparked ideas. One thing led to the next. And we had habits that made it possible to play with ideas without taking total ownership over the end result.

If we'd stopped there, we would never have written a novel. it's great to play out scenes interactively, but finishing a novel requires so much more. That's where differences in our personalities and styles also help.

Kimbra is the person who sees an arresting image, or captures a voice, and plays it out. I'm the person who imagines an evil plot twist that makes the main character suffer or turns a minor character inside out.

Kimbra is the person who always remembers to proofread. I'm the person who will happily spend hours and hours tweaking sentence-by-sentence to tighten up the language.

Kimbra never met a sensory detail she didn't like (especially if it involves food!). I never met a landscape description I didn't like. But we know that if our partner says, 'Cut it',  it has to go.


I have no idea how I would teach someone else to collaborate the way we do. We started working by playing together, and a large part of the reason we work well together, is that much of it still IS play.

Interestingly enough, we still occasionally play out a scene interactively when we're stumped and need the extra spark that comes from not knowing what the other person's character is going to do or say next. Sometimes it takes us to very unexpected places.

Writing is a lot of hard work. But one of the reasons we're able to keep plugging through all the hard parts that every writer experiences -- is that it's rooted in a sense of play.

Paul, thank you for stopping by my blog and sharing the story of your writing collaboration. It was a fascinating and inspiring insight into your writing team process!

And guess what, dear readers...Kimbra is going to guest blog in the next couple of weeks, so don't miss it!

When Paul Douglas Deane was 11 years old, one of his father's co-workers gave him a copy of Lord of the Rings. When he was twelve years old, his mother got a Valentine's Day poster that had the words 'I love you' in twelve different languages. Both events changed his life. The first gave him a lifelong love of fantasy. The second led to his getting a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Chicago -- which may not exactly constitute following in Tolkien's footsteps, but certainly qualifies as trespassing on his turf.

Paul now lives in Lawrenceville, N.J. with his wife Debbie and works as a computational linguist. His favorite novels include Tanith Lee's The Birthgrave, Meredith Ann Pierce's The Darkangel, and C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces, though he cherishes a love for quirky Victoriana and Edwardiana, such as William Morris' The Story of the Glittering Plain  and G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday. He is coauthor with Kimbra Wilder Gish of the YA fantasy novel Daughter of the Signs. Kimbra and Paul met online in a Tolkien text role-playing game. The rest (as they say) is history.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Quote of the Day

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.

  ~ Randy Pausch,
The Last Lecture

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Quote of the Day

When there is no peril in the fight there is no glory in the triumph.
~ Pierre Corneille

Monday, May 20, 2013

Contests & Giveaways in the Writing World - Week of May 20th

Yep, it's Monday...again? But it's OK, because it's time for a great week of Contests & Giveaways!

Felicity Heaton is celebrating her new Paranormal Romance Unleash with this AMAZING Giveaway! Prizes include a few Amazon GCs (the largest one $75!!) and Fab Swag Packs! Only 6 days are left to enter, so hurry.

Smitten With Bad Boy Heroes is giving away signed copies of Full-Blooded and Hot-Blooded by Amanda Carlson, t-shirt and other swag! 13 days to go.

Sizzle Swoon is participating in a May Always Be Books Blog Hop by giving away an ebook of A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest, as well as a $10 worth of ebooks for the Kindle!

Log in to GoodReads to win 10 Advanced Copies of Lindsay McKenna's High Country Rebel! You can't get any better than a Navy SEAL hero!

Check out Creating Writing Contests. Various contests are featured, many with monitory prizes.

Writing Knights Roundtable is preparing for their Second Annual Grand Tournament! The first prize winner will be offered a full length, perfect bound book deal with Writing Knights Press. There are also secondary prizes.

Write poetry? Enter a Poetry Contest from Bauhan Publishing LLC. They are accepting submission both by email and snail mail. Manuscripts need to be submitted by June 30th.

*As always, please contact me for the inclusion of your contests/giveaways into the Monday Contests and Giveaways in the Writing World posts.

Have fun and good luck! 

Also, don't forget to become a follower of this blog to make sure you catch giveaways coming soon!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Art & History Feature - Fantasy Artists I Recently Discovered

Every once in awhile, I like to look for new fantasy art artists and share them with you. Here is a sampling of a few I discovered recently. I hope you enjoy.

By Katy Rewston (  

By Ruth Sanderson (

Urban Angel by Nicole Cadet (

By Jana Souflova (

Dragon Thrall by Nicole Cadet ((

By Linda Bergkvist (

 Daisy Chain by Dashinvaine (

Robin Hood by phoebe101 (

By James Brown (
As always, more will be coming in the next months. Please let me know if you have favorites among fantasy art and artists, and I'll include them in this feature.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Quote of the Day

A stumbling block to the pessimist is a stepping stone to the optimist. 
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, May 13, 2013

Quote of the Day

“Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon; suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is... The only problem in your life is your mind's resistance to life as it unfolds. ”
― Dan Millman

Monday, May 6, 2013

Contests & Giveaways in the Writing World - Week of May 6th

Image rights: Office Space,

Got a case of the Mondays? Not to worry! Monday is the start of a great week of Contests & Giveaways!

Jocelynn Drake is stopping by My Bookish Ways today for an interview, and you have a chance to win Angel's Ink and find out about the next book in the Asylum series, Dead Man's Deal!

Stop by A Dream Within A Dream for a chance to win signed copies of First Light and As You Were, the first two books in the Project Five Fifteen YA Romantic Thriller series by  Samantha Summers. You will also have a chance to win a Project Five Fifteen T-shirt!

Bethany Crandell of RookieRiter hosting a trailer reveal for Unhinged by A.G. Howard. There's a whole slew of cool prizes to win, including a Super Seekrit Grand Prize!

Trisha Wolfe is hosting a Cover Reveal and Giveaway of Ashelyn Drake's Romancing the R.A., a New Adult Romance. The prize is a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a $10 PayPal Cash!

Read an excerpt from The Rules of Engagement by Gina Maxwell on Romancing Rakes For the Love of Romance, and enter to win Seducing Cinderella Swag Pack! This is only one stop on the Blog Tour, so you will also have a chance to enter the Tour-Wide Giveaway with the prize of Kindle Fire HD! Only 6 days to go!

Enter the Name A Character Contest with H.M. Alder in her Tides series! Find out all the details, as well as the prizes - there are 3, including $$ - right here!

*As always, please contact me for the inclusion of your contests/giveaways into the Monday Contests and Giveaways in the Writing World posts.

Have fun and good luck! 

Also, don't forget to become a follower of this blog to make sure you catch giveaways coming soon!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Quote of the Day

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
~ George Bernard Shaw
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