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Jean and Marcy collaborate on Mystery novels.
7/24/06 6:56:41 PM Opening "Chat Log 7/24/06"
CircleOfTheMuse: Hi, Jean, hi, Marcy!
W2PSushi: give it a few minutes for folks to wander in
RLMorgan51: Hi all Great to be back
W2PSushi: back from the land of Eternal Overtime
CircleOfTheMuse: I got lost there, I think!
RLMorgan51: thanks for the greetings
JeanMarcy: testing, testing--for color
W2PSushi: well, I suppose we can get started
CircleOfTheMuse: Ok - I'd like to introduce my friends Jean and Marcy.
JeanMarcy: hello, everyone
CircleOfTheMuse: They've published four detective novels together, one of which won a Lambda award.
CircleOfTheMuse: And they have collaborated on a series that not only has a plotline within each book, but also has a plot arc over the series as a whole.
CircleOfTheMuse: I've brought them in tonight to talk with us about the in's and out's of collaboration.
CircleOfTheMuse: Please remember that we're on protocol tonight. I'll be taking names.
CircleOfTheMuse: At this point, I'd like to open the floor for Jean and Marcy to tell us what they know.
JeanMarcy: this will be short
JeanMarcy: When CircleofThe Muse asked us to do this, we came up with a few thoughts--we'll happily entertain questions/comments as we go along, too
W2PSushi: sounds good to me
JeanMarcy: First, collaboration has been an evolving process for us. Our first two books (one unpublished) especially were learning how-to-write-together exercises.
JeanMarcy: Our books are told by a first-person narrator. We had to learn how to write in "her" voice.
JeanMarcy: One of our strongest "rules" was that we each had to listen without criticism to the first reading--no matter how much the listener wanted to fix what seemed wrong.
JeanMarcy: A collaborator has to have enough humility to give up great scenes for the greater good. BUT enough ego to write even after having a great scene tossed into the trash.
CircleOfTheMuse: LOL, I'm going to be the first to ask a question.
CircleOfTheMuse: How do you decide who gets to do the first draft of a scene? Is there always one of you who does that? Or do you take turns? I never detect a shift in tone in your work.
JeanMarcy: First, thank you for what is a very big compliment--that you don't detect a shift in tone.
W2PSushi: [Tom has a bad cold and had to leave early.]
JeanMarcy: To answer the question. Because we are working together, we have to sketch out the outline of a plot. Then we think in terms of movie scenes. (Not exactly but like that.) We sketch out or talk out what will happen
JeanMarcy: Then we assign that scene to M or J sorta on the scientific principle of who has a "feel" for that one -- or an idea.
RLMorgan51: Biggest issue that must arise regularly is plot line. How do you two handle that, You have to start at Point A and wind up at POINT B with so many different paths that be taken? GO LEFT === NO GO RIGHT, etc.
RLMorgan51: you might have answered part of it already
JeanMarcy: RLM--you have described some of the darkest moments of our first struggling writer moments.
RLMorgan51: how did you get to the light at the end of the tunnel?
JeanMarcy: Sometimes we think we'd like to write more freely, but we have to have enough plot--and sometimes details--to keep the train on the track--and going in the same direction.
JeanMarcy: You know how carpenters say measure twice, cut once? We have to talk, talk, talk, then write individually.
Writeur17: You have answered my question without knowing it, through your deft
W2PSushi: A friend has proposed a collaboration
W2PSushi: thing is, she lives 700 miles away
W2PSushi: how do you two work this out?
W2PSushi: (or do you see each other in person a lot?)
JeanMarcy: Hmm. We'd find that tough because we talk. But e-mail might work. The real trick, though, is a relationship-ego thing. Before we started writing, we thought we were too much alike in tastes. Ha!
W2PSushi: so it's more a personality than a procedural thing?
JeanMarcy: We live together. We have never stormed out of the house but we have had sharp differences.
JeanMarcy: As the personal is political, the personality is procedural and vice versa.
Writeur17: That's the answer, Paul. Have your collaborator move into the same house as you!
W2PSushi: okay, great :-)
W2PSushi: (my souse has had one crit done by W2P, but years ago)
JeanMarcy: Think of teaching someone you like to drive a car. Only imagine equality, not teacher-pupil relationship.
W2PSushi: thanks, and go ahead
W2PSushi: souse! LOL try "spouse"
JeanMarcy: Well, souse was provocative.
CircleOfTheMuse: How do you keep the differences in your writing from damaging your interpersonal rapport?
Mallie1025: wait till your "souse" sees what you called her lol
CircleOfTheMuse: I've known business partners who start off as friends and end up not speaking after a few years - and they're not haggling over every word.
JeanMarcy: We have said our most serious disagreements arose with our writing. (Since then raising a puppy has tested us; it's like agreeing on discipline for kids.)
W2PSushi: LOL woof!
JeanMarcy: But that's part of what we meant by learning to give up a great word choice or scene or paragraph--or even plot twist--to make the book work. Humbling. (And one of us is far from humble!)
CircleOfTheMuse: (I'll have to ask about which one later!)
JeanMarcy: However, the payoff for living thru the humbling bits is that the book is better, stronger. (Virtue rewarded!)
Writeur17: What qualities would you suggest people look for when selecting a collaborator?
JeanMarcy: M: Someone whose writing you respect.
JeanMarcy: J: And you can work with.
Mallie1025: Do each of you specialize in different aspects of writing or are you both about equal in all areas?
Mallie1025: Like one does dialogue best, the other descriptions?
JeanMarcy: M: J specializes in puns.
Mallie1025: well we all need puns lol
JeanMarcy: J: We both do it all--writing and editing. But, I have to say, Marcy is a
Mallie1025: that;s a big plus lol and takes patience ga
CircleOfTheMuse: At what point in your writing did you feel like you really had down the 'working together' aspect?
JeanMarcy: J: I like to edit, too--and do. But Marcy is quite good--except when cutting my excellent puns.
Writeur17: I'm generally opposed to pun-pruning, personally.
JeanMarcy: We're still waiting. But we loved it when good friends said they couldn't tell who wrote which section--or, also fun, they guessed wrongly.
JeanMarcy: J: Writeur17, I knew I liked you right away.
RLMorgan51: Isn't it hard editing your own work....Familarity breeds contempt. Where do you find that "third" eye to do it with? GA
Mallie1025: I am a cliche person -- way too much so
JeanMarcy: Letting work rest, then going back to it helps. But also, there's a fun in editing and shaping. One of real strengths of collaboration is having another set of eyes, ears.
RLMorgan51: outside the collaboration?
JeanMarcy: M: We all are. That's how they became cliches.
JeanMarcy: RLM--don't understand the ? Help us
RLMorgan51: is the other set of eyes ears outside the collaboration ? SORRY :-(
JeanMarcy: No, our "duh." We meant a collaboration brings another set of eyes and ears for J's words or for M's words. But our Writers' Group does that for both of us, too.
W2PSushi: what sort of writer's group? On line? In person -- formal or informal style?
JeanMarcy: In person. Informal but also down to business.
CircleOfTheMuse: This is how I know them.
W2PSushi: how do you handle the icky business stuff? Contracts and all?
JeanMarcy: We have had the good fortune of an honest small publisher. We earn an assistant coach's salary per hour--or less. Big bucks & Jodie Foster starring in the movie version have eluded us. Plus--
JeanMarcy: Plus, Circle of the Muse & other group members write prose we learn from--(yes!) & also help with editorial advice.
JeanMarcy: Thanks for good questions. We haven't done this before--hope we have not violated too many etiquette standards.
CircleOfTheMuse: But - despite not getting the big bucks and Jodie, I see your books at places like Borders and Barnes & Noble. Do you have a publicist?
W2PSushi: you are doing well! :)
W2PSushi: don't think I've ever seen a 'shared keyboard' style before. :-)
Soulofawriter18: have you ever thought to write outside what you're currently doing? And would you do it together or separately?
JeanMarcy: Marcy has a short story published first. We have thought we'd like to write in third person someday. We thought together.
CircleOfTheMuse: Well, we're up to the end of our time.
W2PSushi: wow, fast hour
CircleOfTheMuse: Yes, I know! I'd like to thank Jean and Marcy for being here for us tonight.
Ajcates: thanks for the informative chat
JeanMarcy: Thanks for asking us. We've had a good time.
Mallie1025: You write in first person--impressive!!thought I was the last one to do so
CircleOfTheMuse: I've been privileged to get their feedback on my material for the past several years - I've learned more from them than I did in school.
Mallie1025: Yes it was great fun having you both!
CircleOfTheMuse: And I'd like to mention that they write very excellent material.
JeanMarcy: Actually it helped us get started and forced us to find a "voice."
CircleOfTheMuse: I think I can tell who's talking here, but I can't in your books.
Mallie1025: I write best in that tense but get a lot of grief about it
W2PSushi: sorry we are in the Summer Slump
JeanMarcy: That makes sense.
W2PSushi: might fairly have expected twice the attendance . . .
CircleOfTheMuse: I'd like to suggest that people give some of their stuff a read.
Mallie1025: did I miss a link to their site?
CircleOfTheMuse: To be honest, I think their best novel is the one they're currently working on.
CircleOfTheMuse: Do you guys have a site?
JeanMarcy: No, we don't have a site. We're seriously 19th Cent.
CircleOfTheMuse: But all their other material is also excellent - well-plotted, the characters ring true, and it's rich in detail.
CircleOfTheMuse: I know Amazon sells their stuff.
Mallie1025: Just as well--they are a pain to set up!!
CircleOfTheMuse: I could find a site with you on it.
Mallie1025: what name do you two go by on your books? JeanMarcy?
W2PSushi: we can have a runner bring some clay tablets
W2PSushi: oh, 19th AD
CircleOfTheMuse: Yup, Jean Marcy.
CircleOfTheMuse: Mommie Deadest won the Lambda Award.
Mallie1025: Circle with who on it?? I can't find my own blog at times lol
Mallie1025: ok I will watch for them
CircleOfTheMuse: With Jean and Marcy on it.
Soulofawriter18: good night everyone...thanks for a great chat...
RLMorgan51: Guys it was great being back
W2PSushi: thanks very much, all
RLMorgan51: all I can say is "Happy Trails" to you...until we meet again.... GREAT BEING "Back in the Saddle Again"
CircleOfTheMuse: lol, thanks again, Jean and Marcy.
RLMorgan51: See everyone here next week
RLMorgan51: same chat time
RLMorgan51: same chat room
W2PSushi: then minigroup sessions
Ajcates: <~~ having 60's flashback LOL
W2PSushi: and back to our normal biweekly schedule
7/24/06 8:10:42 PM Closing "Chat Log 7/24/06"
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