Gaining Confidence in the Craft: A Co-Authoring Experience


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“On every page, confidence fights with self-doubt. Every sentence is an act of faith. Why would anybody want to do it?”
― David Morrell

A few months ago, a good friend introduced to a wonderful man who had a fabulous story to tell. He claimed he was not a writer. His story captured my attention immediately. He wanted me to help him get his story in print. He quickly wrapped me up in his tale and a new venture began. The first draft is underway, and I am learning more about my writing and myself every day.

After some negotiation, I decided to take this story and together we are writing his paranormal memoirs. We mapped out the book, voice and characters. Ron tells me his tale and together we add to the Google document. He writes, I rewrite, taking out the redundant words and fixing grammatical errors. Together we blend style and story together.

Every team must learn to work together. Luckily, our learning curve was quick and easily mastered. One lesson I quickly understood was not to use feminine wording or fluffy adjectives. Ron is 100 % testosterone and has no place for fluffy female descriptions. This was a solid lesson in characterization for me. I quickly understood this man has a heart of a lion, but he is fierce on the outside. In order to relay those feelings, I wrote the passage using different tactics.  He has a enjoyable sense of humor, and together we have accomplished about 105 pages through give and take and compromise.

While main goal is the same, our jobs for the book are different. I focus on the writing process. I am concerned with things like pace, reader captivation, plot threads and characterization. I am meticulous about weaving the themes through the book and not dropping them like stitches in a knit scarf.  The mechanics of a good, solid, sellable novel is foremost in my mind. Over the last few months, my confidence is growing. The realization of what I thought I didn’t know is there, a tool in my writing toolbox, ready for me to use.

While writing the drafts of my first novel, I searched for answers. I created this book with the confidence of a first time parent. I felt unsteady and unsure of my craft. While I work with Ron, I notice my confidence growing.

While I focus on the book’s mechanics, Ron is the storyteller. He relays every detail and correct chronological order of things. I admire him for these traits; it is hard to relive eight plus years of your life.  We write, edit and cut details out of the story to keep it focused. I am excited to see this story grow before our eyes.

Every book in a writer’s library is a learning experience. The co-author experience gives me confidence. I still research and read endless blogs about writing, but I am finally beginning to feel like a writer.

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7 thoughts on “Gaining Confidence in the Craft: A Co-Authoring Experience

  1. Thanks so much Ellyn for your wonderful essay and isn’t it amazing how helping someone else with their writing is helping yours. I recently had that experience when editing another writer’s work. I discovered quite a lot about my own writing style and what I expect as a reader.

    • Thank you for stopping by Debbie. I experienced two opportunities to learn more about my work. First, I had the pleasure to talk to some enthusiastic readers of my new novel. I was excited to learn I resonate with them. The second experience came through reading Stephen King’s On Writing. His word showed me writers go through the similar trials and tribulations. It is comforting to know we are all struggling in one way or another 🙂

  2. This is really interesting, Ellyn – as you know I have a future plan for co-authoring, and it’s great to see some ways to make it work! Good luck with it 🙂

    • It is a team effort. I enjoy using my expertise and together we get his story told. I was very careful to make sure we were on the same page as far as copyrights, publishing and profits go.I had great help from my friends on the LinkedIn groups. Good luck with your endeavor and I can not wait to hear how it goes 🙂

  3. Pingback: Somthing New | Courtney B. Writing

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