We thought it would be great to hear from another writing duo about their co-authoring process, so we reached out to our fellow Novel Nineteens cohorts, Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones. Gilly and Kimberly’s debut novel Mass Disturbance is set to release Fall 2019 and “chronicles a fight that breaks out at a racially divided Atlanta high school and escalates into citywide riots, told in alternating point of views between two girls—one black and one white.” Read on to find out about their thoughts on the co-writing process!
What would you say is the biggest benefit of writing a book with a co-author?
Kim: The biggest benefit of a co-author is only having to write half of the book, lol. Seriously, I think it’s so wonderful to have someone to take the journey with. There are rough days and having someone with the same stakes to hold your hand is nice.
Gilly: Definitely having someone to write you OUT of the corner you wrote yourself INTO! 🙂 Brainstorming with Kim is about the most fun and creative writing experience I’ve ever had. When we’re together, we can’t stop the ideas from blooming and it’s awesome to have someone else get excited about the same flights of fancy as you. Of course, it’s equally awesome to have someone there to go, uhhhhh, reel it back in, sister, you’re waaaaay out there.
How do you resolve conflict when you’re writing?
Kim: We set up systems in advance for conflict resolution. I think because the characters we are writing are in constant conflict/resolution situations, we lived in a state of “fix it.”
Gilly: As Kim said, our characters pushed us to hone this skill. Lena and Campbell are very different from one another, and frequently, they were pulling in opposite directions. Having to mediate disputes on the page made us better at mediating conflicts IRL! Also, we try to remember that “compromise” doesn’t necessarily equal “middle ground.” Sometimes it means one person’s perspective should win the day. If one of us felt strongly about something, the other stopped and listened. Often, we ceded to the person with the stronger feelings because it drove the book toward a better place.
What have you learned throughout the co-writing process?
Kim: I learned the importance of going in fully respecting each other. It allowed us to get to the grit but still handle each other with care.
Gilly: I learned the value of planning and communication. We spent two years working on our book. A lot of life happened in that time. The more we talked openly about what was going on for us, what we had to commit to the writing process, when we needed space, how we wanted to work together and what we wanted to accomplish and when, the better things went. Every collaboration is different, and it took us a while to find a path that worked for us. But once we did, our co-writing became a really positive, creative space.
Where can we find you online?