Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"You cut my semicolon...I want a divorce!"

This evening the Central Ohio SCBWI got a double treat. Two acclaimed authors, Gary Braunbeck and Lucy Snyder, shared some insights on collaborative writing. They have a special concern in terms of joint writing projects: they’re also married. They gave an informative (and amusing) presentation entitled “You cut my semicolon…I want a divorce!”

Lucy and Gary talked first about the benefits of collaborative writing in general. As Gary pointed out, a writing partner is especially helpful when working under a tight deadline. On one occasion an anthology editor asked him if he could produce a story in four days. Gary and Lucy working together were able to meet the challenge and create a compelling tale.

A fresh viewpoint is also useful when one party can’t decide which way to go with a given work. Maybe one person has a developed beginning, or a strong middle, but can’t decide whose story it is. In these cases, an outside perspective can illuminate and clarify the story.

Lucy pointed out that marriage brings unique challenges to collaborating writers. For example, when both are pounding out words under deadline, who has to clean the litter box? There can also be clashes over creative issues. When one of them is having a tough time, it’s difficult for the other to remain unaffected. Arguments might also arise over who gets time to work on creatively fulfilling projects while the other has to bring in a paycheck. Jealousy and egos can also come into play.

But they were quick to point out that marriage has its benefits, too. They never have to schedule a meeting to brainstorm; it can happen in the hallway or over laundry. They also share the bond of empathy. When Gary’s having trouble, Lucy can empathize, and vice versa. Being married to another writer allows them to share that understanding about the joys and frustrations of the creative process.

If you get a chance to work with either Gary or Lucy, I would recommend it; both are fonts of writing knowledge, and entertaining as well. As luck would have it, both will also be at Context this year. Context is an intimate convention for readers and writers of speculative fiction. I’ll be there, and I highly recommend it. While online registration is now closed, you can still register at the door. It takes place in Columbus, Ohio, August 27-29. More information is here.

1 comment:

kathleenwall said...

Nice write-up, Faith! It sounds like I missed a great presentation.