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Welcome To Our Collaboration...

First off I want to apologize for any strange grammar or punctuation errors in this entry because I’m using Dragon instead of actually typing on a keyboard.


Whew! Anyway, I'll be sharing my adventures with Dragon Speaking Naturally software, and learning how to use it, in another blog entry, For now I’m going to share my experiences with collaborations. The one I wish to talk about today is the one I have with my wife Helen, who has joined me as co-author on the third installment of the Para-Earth Series, "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home".

Like the first two novels "The Bridge" and "The Ship" I had originally started the book on my own, but as the story wore on I new character emerged from a dream my wife had. In her dream, Helen was in the role of Police Sergeant Veronica Ross who appeared in "The Bridge", and she had come across the body of a man who had been apparently killed by a creature from one of the Para-Earths. But in addition to the body, she found a funny little man who appeared to be examining the body quite intently. Upon seeing her, this fellow who appeared to be in his mid-50's, was short, and kind of heavy, did a magnificent backflip out the window and nimbly landed on the ground running, two stories below. From there he took off an such incredible speed and demonstrated such acrobatic skills that belied his appearance, she just knew there was more to the man than met the eye.

Later in the dream she encountered him again where they began to talk about Para-Earths... then she woke up. But this character, who she came to call "The Professor" was clearly a character who needed to become part of the Para-Earth series, so I asked her to join me as co-author in "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" where the Professor will make his debut and become an integral part of future books.

I felt quite at ease about having Helen join me, as she had been my sounding board and science advisor for the first two books. Her knowledge of actual science, physics, and unusual life forms, had helped shape those novels. And with my own desire to start taking the series more into a science fiction direction, this made perfect sense. Especially since I get to work with my wife face-to-face, as we share ideas and suggestions.

Being able to spend time with each other in real life gives a whole new dynamic to our collaboration since we don’t always have to be at our computers to work on the story. Instead, we could be driving someplace or having dinner at a restaurant and will be discussing ideas and scenes for the story. Being able to operate like this gives us a distinct advantage to rework a scene before we actually put it to paper. We get the chance to work out the dynamics between the characters, feelings, emotions, reactions and have a more clear idea of how we want a scene to read.

Does this automatically mean that we have every scene worked out perfectly? Absolutely not. In fact, we will rework a scene time and again until we find a version that we both really like that works. Even then we will occasionally go back to that scene and rework it with new elements that we hadn’t thought of before to improve it.

Furthermore, we may not always agree on exactly how we want a scene to play out. There might be elements that one of us thinks would work better in a later point in the story. In cases like this, it’s much easier to have the other person there with you to work out those differences and come up with a common solution that we can both live with. Another benefit is on occasion someone might forget a detail or plan that we decided to use in a scene a few days before. This actually happens quite often due to my fibromyalgia. I get the infamous "brain-fog" and forget things. Luckily, Helen is always around to help me remember what I forgot what we had planned for a scene and proceed to fix it. I often refer to her as my spare brain in these cases, since they happen rather often to me.

As you can see, we rely on each other quite often which makes our collaboration work even better. Mind you, we don’t always work on the project together at the same exact time. In fact, since she’s a bit of a night owl, I’ll find that she’s been in the story working on it during the night while I was asleep. This is actually a lot of fun for me, because then I get to see all this new material as if I was the reader and now I get to react to it. And of course will be times when I’m working on the story when she doesn’t know what and when she goes in show find what I’ve written and then it will be her turn to react and come up with a new scene or response. In a way to sort of the game of role-playing for us except that were actually putting together a story for others to read and enjoy.

There are number of ways that you can make a collaboration work, it’s all in how you and your cohort approach things. And that’s all I have to say for now folks, so until next time, take care enjoy the summer.

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