Friday, July 3, 2009
The Writing Couple Reality Show: The Biggest Winner by Robert W. Walker
Does writing have to be so damnably lonely as a profession? Perhaps not. Sure the act of creation is you against the blank page, and on that blank page you have to create life to make the blankness go away and be replaced by life itself, and in that the act is singularly yours, yes, it is a one-man act. But there are many fine writing teams, collaborators who have learned to write together and do so in what appears harmonious ease on the page. A number come to mind. There are sister acts, mother-daughter acts, father-daughter acts, husband and wife acts. But collaboration, which I have done on occasion to dire consequences and to rich ones, depends on both parties parking their egos at the door, and writers are known for having large and unwieldy egos, right? Yet it gets done. What a reality show that would be to pit writing teams against one another in full view of the cameras, eh? There Will Be Blood might be the title of the show. Or No Place For Old Farts…or well you fill In the blank.
I collaborated and completed a novel with a friend named Lyn Polkabla and it is now published as an ebook for Kindle at the Kindle Store and it is selling briskly (Cuba Blue). We were well suited for the task as she was far more anal and I was far more free-wheeling but we respected one another so much, and that is what it takes, great respect for one another to pull off that kind of close contact working relationship for the duration of a novel.
Nowadays, I find myself living in a home with two writers in house—myself and my wife. It is a good thing in many, many ways. Let me digress for a moment and ask you to consider the following:
When someone wants to run for exercise on a daily or semi-daily basis, ever notice it’s easier if you have someone to run with? Or walk a mile for that matter? Whether it’s your dog or your child or your spouse or your buddy, having someone “on your team” and going through the rigors of exercise with you just makes it so much more of a motivational endeavor…or should I say an endeavor driven by motivation that would not otherwise be in the heart and mind. Same with losing or gaining. Same with housework and cleaning. Same with redecorating a room. And same with writing I believe.
If that other “writing” incentive partner is not another writer but an avid reader who can give intelligent feedback and act as first reader and editor and commentator and sounding board, that’s fantastic, too. When both husband and wife write, each is aware of the others schedules and self-imposed rules and needs and so much more. There is an understanding between husband and wife florists or farmers too about “the business” and the time it takes, the blood, sweat, and tears put out, I am sure. The advantages are in communication and acting as support to one another, and support and understanding are not always items that any artistic type, be it filmmaker or writer, painter or origami worker, poet or whatever gets from those around them. We get a lot of hard stares, some confused looks, but understanding of precisely what we do and why we do it?
Nah…that’s rare indeed. The non-artist in the family will likely think you, the artist, has his head up his wazoo or that you’re obviously having an affair as your mind is elsewhere. It would not occur to this person that your mind is on your work and the only affair you are having is with your story and your characters…(a horrible image given some of my characters).
The downside to two writers trying to make a go of it under the same roof is that both are the last to pay the bills, both are the last to remember to put on the roast at 4PM at 350 degrees, and both are last to recall the kids have to be picked up from soccer ball! These are the things that try a married writerly couples souls.
The upside is the motivating factors that each helps the other with. If you think the TV show The Biggest Loser is impressive imagine a reality show depicting two authors trying to out-page one another in a given time period. We read one another’s work. We make cogent suggestions. We proof and edit and comment and encourage. These keep the “exercise” going forward so that the pages stack up.
Now as to actual collaboration in my and my wife Miranda’s future, well that can get dicey and for my money the marriage is more important than a collaborative work. Not that I would ever rule out the possibility, but for now we’re just enjoying one another’s gifts-of-gab…or is that gifts-of-prose, and we are planning some his and her signings as her book, The Well Meaning Killer and my new one, DEAD ON are both out this month and up for preorder now from our respective publishers and online stores.
Here we are, partners in crime. Check out our photo, then check out the link below this one for the article about us.
The link to the article that used our his and her mystery writers photo follows should you care to read it:
www.robertwalkerbooks.comsee you on facebook, twitter, plaxo, and elsewhere….