Lots of people have asked us how we managed as mother and daughter to collaborate on Waiting for Callback. How did you do it? (*Didn’t you argue?). Who did what? (*But didn’t you argue?). How did you make the one voice consistent? (*You must have argued). Ok, everyone thinks we must have argued. We don’t have some perfect (?) BFF relationship, we did argue over the period we were writing. We’re mother and daughter of course we argued – but about all the normal stuff (Hon losing her phone, Hon being messy etc. I’m obviously perfect…) not the writing. Working on the book was/is hard and we wouldn’t have kept going if it hadn’t been fun. The ‘one voice’ thing we only get to because by now we know our characters so well and also because we write and rewrite over and over each other’s drafts until it smooths out. Neil Gaiman said this about writing with Terry Pratchett, ‘…we also rewrote and footnoted each others bits as we went along, and rolled up our sleeves to take the first draft to the second…and by the end of it, neither of us was entirely certain who had written what…’ Without comparing ourselves to those masters this was very recognizable.
So here’s our list of some of the things we learned about collaborating along the way…
1. You can come up with things together that you could never have come up with alone. Waiting for Callback was a joint project from day one. Something we joked about and then started working really hard on.
2. Collaborations change. When we started talking about writing the book Hon was only about fourteen. As she’s got older she’s done more and more of the writing. Her happy place is writing dialogue. As we worked on the book we included more and more dialogue…
3. Play to your strengths in a collaboration. So yep Hon is great at writing funny dialogue but come copy edits she was suddenly and mysteriously ‘really, really busy with school work’. Sure.
4. Respect each other’s strengths. We do.
5. Make each other laugh. We do.
6. ‘Writing criticism’ is badly named. It’s not criticism when you edit (even brutally edit) each other’s first drafts. Criticism sounds personal and mean. It’s neither. It’s just work – hard work but really satisfying.
7. You don’t need to sit side by side to write together. We don’t (*couldn’t). That’s what email is for (yes, even when you live in the same house).
8. Plotting meetings are more fun when there are two of you. Especially when they come with pancakes.
9. You’ve got someone to laugh about it all with at the scariest/worst bits. Especially in the immediate run up to publication it’s good to be doing it together.
10. You’ll never be bored on a family holiday again.
And the test of all this? We’re currently collaborating on the sequel…
Thank you so much for asking us to write on your blog!
Waiting For Callback is out on the 28th January. Preorder it today! Thank you to Perdita and Honor for joining us on the blog!