Most writers have an idea of the story they want to tell when they begin to write a book.
That was not the case for Layne and me.
Over three years ago, while I still lived in Cape Town, South Africa I asked Layne through iMessage if she wanted to try and write a book together. This came after I finally shared a book I attempted to write years before, but never finished.
From 2009-2011, Layne and I traveled the world with nine other girls, the premise for our second book we are currently writing. During those two years we wrote a blog together and completely enjoyed it. Once our travels ended, so did our blog.
My book idea was an attempt to get Layne and I writing together once again.
I don’t remember the exact conversation we had but I am fairly sure it went something like this:
Me: Do you want to write a book together?
Layne: Yes! What about?
Me: I don’t know.
Layne: Ok. Why don’t you write something, I write something and then we can come together and see what we can do with it.
Off we went to our separate corners to write whatever. Literally.
Somehow after stopping, starting, Layne hating our book and nearly quitting, then deciding to push through, a visit to Omaha to edit, deleting the whole book one section at a time, and rewriting it, we have a full length novel.
Our story morphed in our backwards process. What we thought it would be about, it no longer is. New characters came forth, their voices needing to be heard, while others we thought would be main characters, faded to a supporting role. Romance took a bit of a backseat to a story about family and forgiveness and finding your way.
And here we are, years later, with a finished book “in hand”.
Some would say Everyone would say we wrote our book backwards. And we agree. But we also learned so much along this weird and wonderful path.
What we have learned:
1. When we think it’s good enough, stop reading it for a week or a month and then go back and re-assess.
2. Be willing to delete or change anything/everything. This feels horrible, but is ultimately worth it.
3. Clearly every other writer in the known universe already knows this, but START WITH A PLAN.
And it’s only made us stronger writers and better prepared to tackle our second and third books.