The daughter of an FBI agent, P.M. Terrell wrote 12 novels solo before starting on a collaborative effort with T. Randy Stevens. Here, she shares her tips for a successful team writing project with BookPage readers.
Writing times two
guest post by P.M. Terrell
Years ago, I met a married couple who had gone from writing romance to murder mysteries. I think there’s something Freudian in that, but I was also struck by the concept of two individuals collaborating on one book. I doubted I would ever want to do it. But with my latest suspense novel, The Banker’s Greed, that is precisely what I did. And I would eagerly do it again.
T. Randy Stevens, the CEO and Chairman of the Board of First Farmers Bank, approached me with a draft and asked me if I would consider editing or rewriting it. I knew when I read the story—about a banker’s daughter who is kidnapped and all the clues lead to her father—that he had a compelling plot and multi-faceted characters. But I also knew that I did not want to take another person’s story and rewrite it. It was his idea and I wanted it to be a team effort.
For months, Randy wrote his chapters in the middle of the night. I’d arrive at my office to find his emailed chapters waiting for me. I’d spend the day massaging them, adding my “flair” and emailing him with suggestions and ideas. We went back and forth like this and the pages began to accumulate. Then we progressed to rewriting, editing and perfecting it.
I was fortunate because Randy is a dream to work with. For authors considering a collaborative effort, I recommend:
- Leave your ego at the door. It is one thing to debate an idea and quite another to be willing to go down with the ship because you can’t disengage your ego from your idea.
- Listen. Many problems can be averted simply by listening to the other person’s ideas and giving them due consideration.
- Respect one another. If you can’t respect what the other person is bringing to the table, your writing will reflect it.
- Be willing to compromise. Collaboration should make the finished product better than either of you could do individually.
- Be in it for the long haul. Far beyond the writing, you have the marketing, book tours, royalties, and book/movie rights that will require both your attention. It requires a partnership.
[Thanks P.M.! For more information about The Banker's Greed, visit www.pmterrell.com.]