Collaboration

 

What’s the point of having a blog if you never post anything? Well, I often think posting’s such a self-centred thing to do. Why should anyone spend any of their precious time reading my pearls of wisdom (or ignorance)?

The reason for this one, however, is that I’ve collaborated (again) with Canadian friend Eden Bayley (aka Helen Yee) on writing stories for RB Wood’s monthly Word Count Podcast and, for any writers who look at this, I think it’s an exercise worth trying.

I’ve written before about how fictional characters seem to act autonomously and how those in my books often surprise me by seeming to take directions which have nothing to do with me. Those in our collaborations behave in the same way, but with the added twist that, even though I may have created  one, given him/her a specific identity, and sent him/her off on a particular path, when Eden sends back her version of how the story and that character develops and progresses, he/she may have become a relative stranger to me. However, the constraints of what has by now become a structured, recognisable narrative, (which the character – having been part of it from the beginning – knows even better than I do), seem to remove even more of my control over who he/she then becomes.

But it’s not only that twisting of the relationship between author and character that’s of interest, it’s the fact that the co-author may have incorporated undreamed of (by the story’s originator) elements of the setting, introduced objects or actions absent from the initial conception, interpreted the first author’s words in an unexpected way, added themes not necessarily related to the original intentions or led the plot/story in any number of unanticipated directions. And that, in turn, forces the first writer to readjust his/her thinking and, almost, start afresh.

As I list those possibilities, it makes me wonder how on earth we managed to reach a satisfying conclusion with any of our efforts. But we did, Richard was content enough with them to include them in his shows and, in my opinion, in at least two of them, the results of the ‘double narrator’ approach produced twists better than any I might have dreamed up on my own.

So, rather than drone on, I’m posting the first of our collaborations here. There are 3 more, which may follow. Meanwhile, if you’d like to hear some of our solo efforts, you’ll find them on Richard Wood’s site.

More recently, Richard’s prompts have been mainly visual but this one simply had to include the three words Frozen, Whiskey, and Time. Our effort is called The Wrong Shoes.

 

 

3 comments

  1. Will you please get your books republished? I read Material Evidence. The 2nd book in the series is available at a reasonable price but then, not only for that series but for the novels too, the prices become high and or the books are unavailable. People just aren’t taking them off their bookshelves and reselling them! I know why.
    My library doesn’t have them. I’ve looked at all the used book stores on-line and it’s a desert!
    You know you’re good. Others know you’re good. Get them republished and make us happy!

    1. First, thanks for such an ego-boost, PK. Mainly, though, your comment both surprised and didn’t surprise me. ‘Surprised’ because when I set all the titles up on Amazon and Createspace, I made sure that all the Jack Carstons and the 2 historical novels were the same price and the other, shorter books were cheaper. And ‘didn’t surprise’ because I am to PR and commercial savvy as ducks are to the Sahara. My apologies; I’ll be in touch privately.

      1. Thanks for your email this morning. It charmed me. Yes, Amazon has the books (new) but I’m looking for them used (cost). And it looks as if another of Amazon’s tricks is to limit distribution so that few other bookstores (on-line as well as brick&mortar) carry all of your titles. That explains why there are so few used copies to be had. A wider distribution would benefit us all as the books are right up there with the best. They might have 2 or 3 of the titles but that’s it.

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