Books I am Writing, The Road to Christmas

Writing As Improvisation

When I agreed to co-write this book with Allie, I’ll admit I was extremely nervous. I had checked out her stories so I knew she could write, and we’d talked a bit so I knew she was nice, but we had “known” each other for all of fifteen minutes when we started drafting the story. I didn’t even know what co-writing entailed, really. I mean, I knew we would both write the book – that part was obvious from the word co-writing. 

We discussed it and decided to alternate chapters from the points of view of our two main characters, each writing one character (I told you a bit about this in my last post). I would be writing Eli and she would write Lottie. I got to start the story. 

I’m usually alright at starting stories, but it was a little tricky to set the scene for a book we had only roughly outlined when I could only guess at what was going to happen in half of the story because I wasn’t going to write it! I just went for it and filled in the gaps as I went along. When I was done, we made a couple changes to add some description, which I am notoriously light on, and then Lottie’s chapter could begin. 

Here’s where the fun part comes in!

When I got the story back, it felt like I was back in theater class playing improv games. If you’ve never played improvisation games in theater class, all you need to know is that the number one rule of improv is you don’t say “no.” So if someone says you are on the moon, you can’t say “no, we’re in Japan,” you have to just roll with it and continue the scene from the moon. 

That is what I felt like writing my chapter. You didn’t think Lottie was going to do that? Well she did! It seems a little scary when I say it like that, but it really wasn’t – it was really fun! It almost made it easier to write because I was just as surprised by what was happening as my character was!

I have to say if you ever get in a writing slump, find yourself a friend (old or new) and co-write a story! It’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of when you get stuck and it’s fun to have to figure out how your character will react to unpredictable situations.

If you could co-write a story, what genre would you want to write? Would you ever consider co-writing a story that was outside your comfort zone in order to learn from the other person? Do you think it is valuable to have a person to discuss ideas with, or is it better to write the idea down in full before you share it with anyone?

Check out more posts about The Road to Christmas or click for details on my works in progress.

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