Friday, July 1, 2011

Behind the SCENES: Collaboration

Keri and I began our writing partnership 14 years ago. I clearly remember fellow authors warning us of the hazards: you'll ruin your friendship, you'll never be able to agree on rewrites, you will clash over the propriety of your intellectual property. Sure, those things can happen and perhaps they often do, but luckily for us, we've never spent a single moment regretting our decision.

To the contrary, it seems that with each new project we gain more enjoyment in our ability to hone the style we've created together. She leans toward horror and fantasy while my bent is more mainstream and quirky humor, but in concert, and with a similar eye to description and ear to voice, we've found that the variations can mesh beautifully, even artfully.

I believe we have taught each other many things about writing, about process, and I know that our collaboration has improved us both, vastly. Put simply, it's great to have that sense of your own accomplishments and it's even better when you have someone with whom to share your excitement.

I look forward to watching our "family" of books step out onto the stage of publication. They're good kids, and we've shepherded them along with every ounce of care and talent at our disposal. It's time to let go--they are ready.

If we are fortunate enough to have your readership, I hope you'll get a sense, as you read along, of the egoless teamwork that we employed then enjoyed as we worked. Back in those first couple of years, people actually came up to us in the cafe where we chose to do our writing to tell us how much we had entertained them as they sat and ate their lunch. We didn't intend that and for a while weren't even aware of it, but as time wore on we came to embrace not only the work, but the comedy relief we were accidentally providing.

When I was a kid, I remember watching the old Dick Van Dyke Show and thinking, "That's it! I want to be a TV comedy writer like Sally and Mort." I wanted to know what it was like to sit around that table and come up with the gags that would crack people up week after week. It was my most earnest wish to be a part of that kind of team.

Now that I look back on how we started, what we're about to launch into, and where we envision going, I think I got that wish.

1 comment:

  1. I suppose a collaboration could go bad. I hear about it, and hear about it all the time. But I've always loved working with a creative partner, and there have been a very small few who I've truly clicked with. Honestly, my only disappointment has been that I haven't gotten to do more, but the surest way to ruin a relationship like that would be to try and force it.

    Shared creation is wonderful. To take someone's idea and build on it and then give it back to them so that they can add another layer... it's such a satisfying feeling.