I have just re-read last weeks blog and realised that by the end, I had left myself running in metaphorical wellies. That sounds very difficult indeed.
The first weeks were indeed tough. Despite my full time work, I managed to complete the amendments to chapters one and two, plus write and send off a further two chapters to Victoria, all within four days. She seemed quite amazed at my haste, but despite the metaphorical wellies, I was determined to hobble onwards. This was my lucky break. So what if my socks were falling down?
I don’t think I have ever been quite so relieved as when my contract arrived a day or two later. From the original end of November deadline, the date had been moved to the ninth of January. Kicking off the wellies and pulling my socks up (see what I did there?) I set to work at a more measured pace.
I guess it might be helpful to include a description here of how the writing process with Working Partners operates. At the beginning, I was sent several pages of information about the project. They included information on the characters and geography as well as an outline of the plot. Because the series is based on a previous series, I was also sent some of the earlier books.
The plotline I worked from was developed by Victoria. It runs to some 10,000 words and lists each chapter and what should occur. Some parts are very detailed. Occasionally, Victoria will specify exactly how she wants a character to feel and what they should say. Other times, there might be an instruction along the lines of “Mandy goes for a walk on the moor and sees lots of wildlife.” The latter directions actually require a lot of work, because I want to ensure the information I add is both interesting and accurate. I love stories where writers weave information into a story in a way that is informative, but not intrusive. I hate it when there appears to be gratuitous information added that is obviously intended to be educational, but that doesn’t really fit. Reading should be fun.
It is quite different, working with someone else on a book. Usually there are so many plot details to work out before I can even start to write and there is so much editing afterwards. Writing with Working Partners is much more a team effort. I like to think of it as being similar to two people producing a lovely cake. Victoria comes up with a recipe and the basic ingredients. I take those elements and using both her directions and my own experience and understanding, I bake and ice the cake. I send back the almost finished article to Victoria and she adds a few special touches. We then send the whole off to Hodder and hope that the editor thinks it’s so great that she wants to share it with everyone.
Obviously this is something Victoria does all the time. She is involved in many such projects. I believe, however, that together we have produced something it wouldn’t have been possible for either of us to achieve alone. It certainly feels very special to me.