12 Days of Collabmas: The Origin Story

Welcome to the 12 Days of Collabmas!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, two women were entirely obsessed with one nerdy TV show. That long time ago was 2016, and that far away galaxy was Tumblr, a site that is truly not of this realm.

Fanfiction was where my writing story began. I loved a TV show so much that my head was filled with situations to put those characters in, and I had to write them down to get any semblance of peace. Little did I know, that began an existence with a brain haunted by fictional characters, some I borrowed and some I created, and a life full of a lot less peace.

Still, I was addicted from the first moment I wrote that probably terrible story. From then on, I threw myself head first into fandom. I read, I wrote, I made friends. The instant gratification of posting a story and racking up likes, comments, and reblogs was thrilling. The more I wrote, the more I loved it. My follower count grew, and I started getting anonymous prompts in my inbox. People wanted more.
Eventually, I got bored. I vividly remember sitting on the floor in my living room, thinking I wanted to write something, but not knowing what. It was my first true taste of writer’s block, and I felt as if I were creatively dying. Like everything I’ve done since, I decided to take a risk and run. I zipped a message to a friend I barely knew, asking if she wanted to collaborate on a story. Then, I threw my phone across the room. I’d read plenty of these stories, where two writers wove their styles and their ideas together, and the concept was fascinating to me. I was still in my writing infancy, and the idea of making myself available to someone else’s thoughts and opinions was terrifying. That’s why I did it.

Soon, Elizabeth wrote back, and I remember it well. She said something like, a collab is just what I need. It was the first time I thought huh, I guess we were on the same page. Let me tell you, though, it was far from the last. Elizabeth and I aren’t on the same page, we literally write the same book.

After that first story, we became better friends, and we’d show each other our new stuff before we’d let other eyes see it. So when that season of our beloved show ended in an unbearable injustice, the first thought I had after I have to fix this was I need her help.
We spent six hours on Google Docs chat that next day plotting out a story that turned out to span the show’s entire summer break. It was one of the most popular stories in our fandom, and we had people hanging onto our every word. We fixed the whole mess before the show’s writers could. Spoiler alert: They didn’t ever fix it, they made it worse. The point is, we spent months writing thousands of words together, and we realized we’re much more alike than different.

Our show ended so badly that we didn’t even attempt to fix it. By then, we’d moved on to our own original work. She’s writing her alien sisters, and I’m writing my ensemble cast of chronically ill teens. We’ve only met in person twice, most recently at a conference in August, where I got to hand her a physical copy of the first draft of my first book. She’s a few hundred miles away, but she’s still the first person who sees anything my mind conjures up. We stumbled upon the ideal collaboration, that set us up for years of friendship and thousands of words. Elizabeth and I thought that this kind of collaborative friendship was something worth sharing, so here we are.
We’re doing this series because we want to share our experience being cowriters and friends, how we’ve each grown since that first collab story, and why collaboration between writers is something to be admired, not feared.

Keep checking out our sites for the rest of our Collabmas posts! You can read Elizabeth’s companion to this post here.

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