Writing Partners

My guest today is Joanna Gawn, to tell us about herself and her writing partner Ron Dickerson.

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What happens when a series of synchronicities introduces a wannabe novelist to ‘subtle energies’ and a re-emergence of her highly sensitive self?

What happens when she meets a man whom she feels she’s known for decades (or even centuries?) and who, over time, becomes her best friend? One who offers her a new way of looking at life and relationships?

What happens when she uncovers an inspirational focus for her writing, and her new best friend gives her a little push into making her dream of writing a novel come true?

She writes her first novel, of course. And then her second. In partnership with said best friend, naturally. :-)

And that’s a true and auto-biographical story, I swear. :-)

From nowhere (or so it seemed) my husband’s long-term friend, Ron, was encouraging me to write – a fantasy tale incorporating the ‘natural magic’ I had begun to see and feel. As a natural healer himself, what I experience with my ‘attuned senses’ is quite understandable to him.

From nowhere, we began writing a book together. A novel about synchronicity, natural magic, stone circles, positive energies, unconditional love.  A story about leading from the heart-space, the inner voice, and doing the right thing. A book about working with light and energy and bringing positive change to the worlds (yes, more than one; Cordello is a parallel world).

So, now that we’ve been an official business partnership for nearly four years, with two novels and two short story ebooks published, how does the writing-and-editing aspect of our partnership work?

First of all, I sit and tune in, and start to write. Maybe 1000 words in a session, maybe more or less (it depends on my health at the time). If I’m already partway through a work, I’ll re-read and lightly edit what I produced in the previous session. This gets me back into the language, feel, and place of the story … my story-world experienced with all my senses.

Sometimes I’ll have no idea what I’m typing before I put fingers to keyboard. A whole scene may unravel onto the screen as I work, and at times I may be completely unaware of what my characters have been up to … until I stop typing and read what I’ve written. It truly is an adventure - and those surprises keep writing special and magical for me.

Once I have something to work with, Ron will take a look and offer his constructive suggestions, or query anything that doesn’t make sense to him, as a reader. He’s really good at finding holes in scenes or identifying something which doesn’t fit. Now and then, he’ll add something to ground the energies of the story. Without exception, our work is better with our joint input. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, that’s for sure.

We work together using a cloud-based document system, so that we can both type (and see the other’s remarks) in a document simultaneously. Comments can be left, emailed, and replied to, as each knot and niggle is worked through. I can’t imagine how we could work together on our writing without this system – not efficiently, anyway. We live about 30 miles apart, so passing over printed sheets of text every so often isn’t really an option, and email alone – which we used in “the early days” of our partnership – got confusing and unwieldy. And now that we are both regularly writing pieces for Writers’ Circle, we need to keep on top of it all.

As with any combined work – particularly a creative one – it takes a huge amount of trust to edit each others’ writing in this way. And even with our best-friendship at the heart of our writing and business partnership, we are human and sometimes still say things that are misunderstood or difficult to clarify. Occasionally, we even upset one another! Trust is the key, and also the belief that we are both doing the best we can, and never with any intention to wound.

As much of what we write as a duo falls under the genre of Visionary and Metaphysical Fantasy, what we write and publish can redefine what’s possible – at least to those unfamiliar with the ideas and concepts. The genre offers a new (perhaps pioneering) way of thinking and living, and can upset the status quo. Some readers already resonate with our work; others find it stimulates their own ‘extraordinary sensing’ or ‘awakening’. However some readers may not be ready for that. I believe that the trust we share is essential to support the times when self-belief is rocked by someone who doesn’t understand what we’re sharing, or when I get wary of putting myself and my stories out into the world.

Would I change it?

I certainly don’t plan to! But it all depends on what I’m guided to write next … :-)

Anneli, a big thank you for inviting us to write for your blog and your readers. :-)

If you’re a writer, did something specific trigger your writing journey?

If you’re a reader, do you wonder where some of the stories you read come from?

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Book Image Group (with extra)

            website: http://www.lazuli-portals.com/

            blog: http://lazuliportalswriting.wordpress.com/

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lazuliportalstrilogy

twitter: https://twitter.com/LazuliPortals

Keywords and Clustering

Writing is basically a way of putting thoughts on paper. Our aim is to organize those thoughts cohesively for the reader to understand. Over time, many methods have been developed to help us transfer thoughts from our brain to paper or computer screen, and into the brain of the reader.

As I struggled to come up with a plan for the next scene of my work in progress, I remembered a basic method that worked well for me in the past. When too many thoughts are crowding my head, I like to organize them using “clustering,” sometimes  called “webbing.” It has been around for a few decades, but it is still a wonderful tool.

We all know about keywords. We use them in web searches all the time. One main word will trigger many other related words and ideas. In clustering we use keywords to trigger associations. The beauty of using keywords is that you don’t have to write whole sentences in order to remember the thoughts associated with them.

To organize your thoughts, start with a keyword for the main topic of your scene. Close your eyes and imagine that word. What thoughts come to mind? Choose a keyword from one of those thoughts and write it down, Circle it and link it to the main keyword. Do this for each of the ideas that come to you when you think about the main keyword.

Below you can see how I used clustering to come up with ideas about Tenedos Bay, the setting of my scene. Associated with that keyword, I have come up with five lesser keywords (like subheadings): rocky islets, trail, other boats, shelter, and forest. When I think of each of these in turn, more ideas come to me and I jot those keywords down, linking them to the origin of the thought. Once I have done that for each of the main keywords, I end up with five groupings of ideas. Now I’m ready to write.

img750I may not use all of the ideas that I jotted down, but it’s better to have more than I need than not enough. If you were using this particular cluster map, you might want to make some sentences about the trail to Unwin Lake. You can follow the links in that series of mini clusters and build your sentence from the keywords, adding any of the associations that you had in mind as you wrote them down. Using “rocks, roots, well worn,” and “Unwin Lake” you might come up with a sentence like: I followed the well-worn rocky trail to Unwin Lake taking care not to trip over tree roots that crossed the path.

Two shorter sentences would probably be better, but you get the idea of using the cluster words in your writing. Once you have your basic idea written, you can play with the sentence to make it better until you’re happy with it.

You can elaborate on these ideas until you’ve reached into the farthest recesses of your mind to pull out every associated idea that you feel is relevant, and when you’ve finished, you have a paragraph of sentences that are all related to the keyword “trail.”

Each of the groupings will make a good paragraph. Your thoughts will be organized and no longer be mistaken for scrambled eggs in word form.

If you haven’t tried clustering, why not give it a try just for fun?

 

Hooked? – 6

Here are three more books and their opening lines.

Assuming the book is in a genre that might interest you, do you want to continue reading after the first lines? The authors hope so. What do you think? Are you interested enough to turn the page? These books probably target women more than men, but we appreciate all opinions.

1. Getting to Mr. Right by Carol Balawyder

Missi Morgan hoped this weekend would bring the magic back into her marriage with Max. She pictured the resort where they were going with its indoor pool, sauna and Jacuzzi and imagined how relaxed they would both feel, their daily preoccupations forgotten as they focused on the pleasure of being together. She couldn’t even remember their last romantic getaway.

New Picture (9)

amazon.ca

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2. The Bridge Club by Patricia Sands
“Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright. It wasn’t Christmas, and it’s not about religion, but whenever I think of that night, those words filter into my head. Kind of bizarre I know, but that’s how thoughts are sometimes.”
TBC Kindle cover-2
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3.  Julia’s Violinist by Anneli Purchase
Men’s voices, harsh and abrupt, sent a stab of fear through her. She peered cautiously up an alleyway towards the town square.
Front Cover  jpg (1)(2)

Hooked? – 5

Here are three more books and their opening lines.

Assuming the book is in a genre that might interest you, do you want to continue reading after the first lines? The authors hope so. What do you think? Are you interested enough to turn the page? These books probably target women more than men, but we appreciate all opinions.

1. Wedlocked by Bonnie Trachtenberg

I used to think the term “temporary insanity” was just a dubious courtroom plea. I found out the hard way that I was wrong.

Wedlocked_Book_Cover

Amazon

2. Orion’s Gift by Anneli Purchase

They say ignorance is bliss. I can vouch for that. My life was humming along just fine until I received that letter. Afterwards, nothing was the same.

Orion's Gift

 amazon.com

 3. Embraced by Darlene Jones

Abby propped the microphone above the bowl of Rice Krispies, turned the recorder on, and poured milk over the cereal.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00038] Website

Amazon

Hooked? – 4

Here are three more books and their opening lines.

Assuming the book is in a genre that might interest you, do you want to continue reading after the first lines? The authors hope so. What do you think? Are you interested enough to turn the page? These books probably target women more than men, but we appreciate all opinions.

1. Touched by the Light by Linn B. Halton

Dying was, quite frankly, incredibly easy. One minute I was there and the next minute I’m here, wherever here is. If someone had asked me what my thoughts were about how life ends, I can’t say this is necessarily how I would have pictured it. I probably would have imagined more drama. The truth is, I had never given it any considered thought. I’ve come to think that’s probably a good thing, because it might be easier not to have any pre-conceptions. One thing I can say for sure is that the possibility of dying at a young age had never crossed my mind.

Touched By The Light final med

http://smarturl.it/TBTLromcom

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2.  The Wind Weeps by Anneli Purchase

I knew I must have the wrong address. He was absolutely stunning. My heart fluttered and thudded frantically. Heat rose to my face. I ducked my head in embarrassment, but couldn’t keep my eyes off him.

I glanced at the scrap of paper in my hand–Single girl looking for roommate to share expenses. Call Monique. 604-483-5866

The Wind Weeps

amazon.com

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3. Selima and the Merfolk by Vanessa Salazar (Genre is Young Adult)

He was here. Selima hid behind lace curtains as she watched Dave’s truck struggle up the hill. It was the same truck he had owned since she was a child, only it had been repainted red with a gold stripe.

SELIMA BOOK COVER

amazon.com

 Vanessa’s blog

Hooked? – 3

Here are three more books and their opening lines.

Assuming the book is in a genre that might interest you, do you want to continue reading after the first lines? The authors hope so. What do you think? Are you interested enough to turn the page?

1. Embattled by Darlene Jones

She turned her hands over and over. No sign of a wound. No pain. So, where had the blood come from?

no smoke.jpg

 

Website: www.emandyves.com 

Amazon: http://ow.ly/HZ6am

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2. The Mount Hope Explorers Club in Madagascar by Pooben Narayanen (Youth Fiction)

Madagascar!” Omkara, better known as Om, said as the Air Mauritius A319 touched down on the runway. He bumped fists with Ételle, his cousin, and Aditya, his best friend.

“The Mount Hope Explorers Club is in Madagascar,” Dr. Gail said. “Excited?”

“Yes!” Ételle said.

“I can’t believe we’re here!” Aditya stared outside.

cover final 01

amazon.com

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3. A Shadow in the Past by Melanie Robertson-King

Sarah lay on her bed, a pillow bunched up under her chest. In her hands, she gripped a photo of Blair and herself taken in front of the Mercat Cross in Aberdeen the previous summer. A mascara-stained tear dripped off her cheek and splattered on the picture.

A-Shadow-in-the-Past-by-Melanie-Robertson-King 300 dpi

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk 

 

Hooked? – 2

Here are three more books and their opening lines.

Assuming the book is in a genre that might interest you, do you want to continue reading after the first lines? The authors hope so. What do you think? Are you interested enough to turn the page?

1. Grumpy Old Menopause by Carol E. Wyer

Have you started to write post-it notes with your kids’ names on them? Do you need to change your underwear after every time you sneeze? Guess it’s time to read this book then.

….  It’ll help you get through “that” time of your life with a spring in your step and a smile on your face. (Yeah right!)

GOM High Resolution Cover

 

http://www.safkhetpublishing.com/books/select/Grumpy_Old_Menopause.html

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2. Made in Nashville by Mandy Baggot

The lights were so bright, brighter than the strongest spotlight Honor had ever stood under. They were coming from all directions. Right. Left. Overhead. The crowd was roaring, clapping, stamping their feet, dancing. They moved like a sea, swaying, bobbing, rising up and falling back in time to the music. This was what she’d dreamed of since she was a little girl.

Made in Nashville

 http://smarturl.it/buymadeinnashville

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3. Kurinji Flowers by Clare Flynn

The beginning of July, and the sky was the colour of a dirty pigeon. 1936 had been a terrible year; dull, grey days, abnormally cool and unremittingly miserable. At least, that’s how I remember it.   

Kurinji Flowers LARGE EBOOK

 

amazon.com