Tag Archives: collaborative work

And then the magic happened…

The Gloaming - Photograph by Rhonda ParrishI really wanted to submit something to the Masked Mosaics anthology. I first learned about the anthology from my friend Beth. She writes a fair bit of superhero stuff, but I’d never written a superhero story in my life. It sounded like a fun challenge so I got to work.

By ‘got to work’ I mean I went through all my story idea notes, post-its and such to see if there was anything there I could put a superhero spin on. There wasn’t. So I started brainstorming. Eventually I came up with an idea and wrote a first draft. A very ugly first draft. I let it sit a while, then revised it. Something was wrong but I couldn’t figure out what. So I sent it to Beth to critique. She helped me identify what (at least a few) of the problems were and I started revising again.

The deadline for submissions was getting closer and closer, and my progress on the revisions was getting slower and slower.

Usually when a story fights me as much as that one was I take it as a sign I need to let it rest a while longer and come back to it with a fresh mindset, but I couldn’t do that, I had a deadline!

To cut a long story into a shorter one, three days before the deadline I decided to let the story I’d been working on rest and to write something new for the anthology. Something that would fight me less. Something short.

While taking a walk with Jo I was sorting through ideas, trying to come up with something that would be a good story, and short enough I could get it done in just a few days. He asked what I was thinking so hard about and we started talking. We brainstormed ideas back and forth until we settled on a concept and plot I thought would really work. There was just one problem. Jo had contributed just as much as I had to the idea’s development. It would feel wrong if I took all the credit for it.

So I suggested that we write it together and share a byline.

And then the magic happened.Jo - Photograph by Rhonda Parrish

In less than a day and a half we went from rough concept and story idea, to a polished short story that I’m super proud of. I’m a fairly good writer, and Jo is an awesome one (You can read his short story The Sickening Thud at the End of it All by clicking that pretty link right there. Go ahead. I’ll wait. You won’t be sorry) but when we worked together we created a story that is, I think, better than anything either of us could have written on our own.

Working with Jo brought out the best in me. I wanted to make each word perfect and wonderful because I wanted to show off for him. And the parts of the storytelling where I’m the weakest? Well, those are areas he’s strong in so he was able to carry me a little. And, I’d like to think, the opposite is true as well. We complement one another well, in writing as in life. How awesome is that?

The story, sadly, though fantastic (even if I do say so myself), earned us a (very awesome, personal) rejection letter from editors and , but I’ve since sent it off elsewhere and I’m optimistic it will find a good home in time.

In the meantime, Jo and I are planning on working with one another more in the future and I am using what I learned working on that story to make all my future solo work better. And someday I’ll even go back to the original superhero story I’d been working on and figure out what’s wrong with it and how to fix it.

Have you ever worked in a collaboration like this and had lightning strike, or magic happen? I’ve done quite a few collabs in the past (I love them.) but never anything quite as fulfilling as this one. I’m curious to see how rare it is in other people’s experiences.

I’ve also had some disasterous collaborations LOL but that’s a subject for another day, eh?

Hollow Children

Camp NaNoWriMo is next month and I am very nervous about it. Very. I’m going in nearly blind, and midway through another huge project (revisions on Twixt) which seems like a recipe for disaster but…well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, and now I’m committed. I freaking hate breaking commitments so, despite how unprepared I am, I’m going to suck it up and give it a shot. Who knows, maybe something awesome will come out of it and I can’t possibly end Camp NaNo with less than I started with, right? So, there’s that…

My project in June is going to be Hollow Children.

A few months ago (man, it might actually be a year ago now :-/) my daughter, Danica, and I decided we wanted to write a novel together. We searched through stock photography sites to find an image that sparked both our imaginations and chose on the image you can see to the left. We brainstormed together and came up with a couple characters then borrowed a story concept I’d been working on before and combined them.

I wrote an opening scene and passed it over to Dani to write the next one. She struggled with it. She’s possibly even more of a perfectionist than I am, and writing isn’t usually her “thing”. So we decided instead of sharing the writing duties, I would write the story and she would illustrate it.

And then I got stuck.

History has shown when I get stuck like this it’s because I’m starting the story in the wrong place, or haven’t really gotten into the brains of my characters. I suspect both are issues when it comes to Hollow Children. To make things even worse, our plot is only a nebulous concept still so I have no freaking idea what is going to happen in this book.

Ugh.

And now I’ve committed to writing 50,000 words on it over the month of June.

What was I thinking? LOL

Right now I’ve got the cover image (which I purchased the right to use) as my desktop image on my laptop so I’ll see it all the time. I’m hoping it will spark something in my brain but if all else fails I’ll draw a couple characters out of my fishbowl (or traits to help flesh out the characters Dani and I created earlier) and write random scenes. I can always try to fit them together once it’s time for revisions, right?

That being said, I’m very open to any suggestions anyone might have about how to find the skeleton of a story in a hurry LOL

Help?

Paint and Music and Love. Oh my!

Today is my anniversary. Another year spent married to this guy. This is Jo. Jo rocks. We’ve been together for just over ten years now, married for seven of them. I love him more today than I did a decade ago and if I were to imagine my life without him it would be a dismal thing indeed.

He’s got his game face on in this picture — we were in the lab and he was pouring things into test tubes for me to photograph. He’s cool like that.

*Insert some sort of clever segue here between anniversaries and music*

Today I’ve got a guest blog over at Beth Cato’s blog. It’s all about music and stories. Check it out ๐Ÿ™‚ Once you’ve read my blog post poke around Beth’s site a bit more. I’m the third guest blogger she’s had there recently talking about music. Also, she’s just kinda awesome.

*Insert one more clever segue*

I’m working on a collaborative project with Jennythe_reader. We hooked up via 2xCreative (which I’ve mentioned before here). We’re actually doing a couple projects together. For the first, I sent her a poem I’d written and she is writing it out all pretty-like and then embellishing the paper. I don’t think my description does it justice, but you can hear her talk about it a little bit here. Anyway, I kind of wanted to do something more. Partly because my time investment was pretty small this month (I already had the poem written and only had to send it to her) and also partly because I wanted to do something different. Whenever I work on a collaborative project I provide words in some form or another. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but Jenny, well, Jenny is a fabric artist. It just so happens that I paint fabric. How could we not do something that combined those talents?

I dug out my fabric painting stuff from where it was tucked into a corner of the basement and painted three pieces. I will be popping these into the mail to Jenny this week and I’ll keep you updated about what she creates with them. I can’t wait to see!

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In other, writing-related news, though I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, I am doing the November Poem-a-Day challenge. My theme is going to be ‘Classic Horror’ with a focus (I hope) on ghosts.

I’ve also begun transcribing and revising Shadows. Right now I’m only working on the revision part (the first couple chapters were already transcribed), and I’m 4,785 words in. I’d love to use a word count meter of some sort here, but that’s tricky when you don’t know how many words you’re going to end up with LOL I think my last estimate was about 70k but at this point, it’s all a big question mark.

Finally, did I mention that it’s my anniversary? Happy Halloween everyone and Jo, I love you.

October 2xCreative

October is freaky busy around here. There’s birthdays, anniversaries, family visits, Thanksgiving… it’s busy.

So of course I decided to sign up for the October 2xcreative project ๐Ÿ™‚

Basically if you sign up you’re randomly paired with someone else who has signed up and you work on a creative undertaking together, then you share your results with the community.

There haven’t been a whole lot of sign-ups over there lately and I think it’s a great community so I’d like that to change. If you have a little bit of spare time this month why not pop over and sign up. You might just enjoy yourself, and besides, I need a partner and right now I’m the only person signed up ๐Ÿ˜‰

Clicky here to go to the sign-up post ๐Ÿ™‚

Something Beautiful

A couple years ago Kyle Cassidy paired people up on his blog to work together on something creative. After everyone was partnered up Kyle said ‘Now go and make beautiful things!’. Being the brat that I am, I immediately knew I wanted to do a project titled ‘Something Beautiful’. Luckily for me my partner, Sarah, is also a bit of a brat -and- is into photography.

Things clicked into place for us well at the beginning, but then life stepped in and what was meant to be a 30 day project actually took us more like two years. However, it’s my pleasure to announce that Something Beautiful is finished and ready for release. Whoot!

What is Something Beautiful? I’m so glad you asked ๐Ÿ™‚

Sarah sent me a bunch of portraits and I used them to inspire micro-fiction stories. She added my words to her portraits, using the image as a canvas for the words (clever, eh? That was her idea, not mine). We ran into some technical problems though, which meant that only a few of the images have the stories on them — most have them ‘on the side’ (like gravy. Gravy makes good things better, right?). The point is, you get her portraiture photography which is meant to show the beauty in people regardless of size or shape, combined with my, rather dark, micro-fiction. Yay!

Sarah and I agreed that we didn’t want to make any money off this project, but wanted to use it to help others. That means all proceeds from book sales will be donated to the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (http://www.nedic.ca) which works to educate people about eating disorders, body-issues and self-esteem. Helping people see the beauty in themselves and those around them.

You can pick up a copy of Something Beautiful below:

Something Beautiful in downloadable .pdf – $3.50
Something Beautiful in paperback – $14.99

But wait! There’s more!

Sarah and I have discounted the books, 10% off the base cost which means right now you can pick them up for $3.14 and $13.49. What’s more, if you use the coupon code JULYBOOKS11 you should get another 20% off, up to $25. There are savings all around, with all the profits going to a good cause.

Lastly, I would like to thank Kyle for starting the ball rolling on this probject. I never would have met Sarah if it hadn’t been for his blog, and certainly never would have created this book. It was an adventure and I learned a lot over the course of this project’s completion.

Kyle also started the 2xCreative community on Livejournal which is dedicated to collaborative projects. It’s been pretty quiet over there for the last little while, but I’ve participated in a couple pairings there in the past and really enjoyed them. Perhaps, now that Something Beautiful has been released out into the wild, it’s time for me to drop by and stir things up a bit. I hope to see you there.

Pseudo-Secret Project

Productive again? Yay!

My focus, which has been sadly lacking since November appears to be making short appearances these days. It’s nothing fantastic and I’ve not suddenly turned into a writing machine, but I’ve been more productive than in ages.

One thing that has helped is the pseudo-secret project I’m working on these days. I’ll share more details soon…ish, but I still need to pin down a couple details first. I’m excited about it though. I’ll likely spill the beans about it on my newsletter first, but information on the blog will follow soon after.

I’m also working on two collaborative projects. Kyle Cassidy ( LJ ~ Twitter ~ Website ) recently set up a project where he paired random strangers up to work on something, anything, together. Long story short, I am working in two collaborations as a direct result. Each is hugely different from the other and I’m really enjoying them both. I feel like they are really pushing me out of the rut I’d been in and sort of forcing productivity. This is a good thing because if I do it long enough it will become a habit again LOL

Now, so long as the baseball game we’re supposed to go to tonight doesn’t get rained out, I’ll be golden. Please don’t rain. Danica has been looking forward to this all week and passed up a chance to go to a movie and a slumber party for this game. Please don’t rain…