How We Got Started Writing
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
P.J. and I often get asked how it is we managed to collaborate to produce Daram. The questions we most get asked are who wrote what, how did you decide who was going to write what, and how did you manage to keep the narrative voice fairly uniform, given that different writers have individual voices and styles?
The answers to those questions hinge on how we got started writing, and why we decided to write this story together.
After we graduated from university and got married to our respective sweethearts, our various jobs took us far away from each other. It was too expensive to call one another often, so we wrote long letters detailing the travails of our daily lives. But as we wrote late at night, after our day's work, the impetus was always to try to escape the mundane and share the inner life of our imaginations.
We always loved fantasy and fairy tale - Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Isak Dinesen's Winter's Tales - and we loved the notion of alternate worlds, especially medieval-period worlds that could offer swashbuckling adventures. Our fascination with the time travel of Doctor
Who (I still long for a Tardis - who doesn't?) led us to embroider our musings to one another with a sunnier and more contemporary take on Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. What if a rock band à la Still Crazy / Almost Famous traveled to such an adventure-promising alternate world? The fun this idea promised was irresistible. I would write one chapter in my letter to P.J. and leave a cliff hanger, and her challenge was to pick up the story from that point in her next letter to me. Thus we began the story as entertainment for one another.
Slowly, as our entertainment became more engrossing, as characters took shape in our minds and on paper, we worked on developing the plot. As we approached the work more seriously, when discussing the action of the story, we decided to each take on a set of characters and the action they would be involved in. But this was never a hard and fast rule. We switched back and forth as necessity and interest dictated, relying on each other's stronger abilities regarding certain areas of the plot and story to create the colour and shape of the world of Arethea and the land of Taihandria. At that point we determined that we were essentially writing the story we had always wanted to read, and maybe other folks would enjoy it also.
As to how the narrative voice remains consistent, our brilliant editor makes sure that stylistically we are not as distant from each other as we are geographically in real life.
Oh, and the other question we sometimes get asked is, were there disagreements along the way? Of course there were, but they were obviously amicably settled (usually by our brilliant editor), and the story was made better by the rigorous 'discussion' we engaged in.