12 Days of Collabmas: What It’s Like to Work With Me

Hi! I’m Elizabeth, the cowriter that Ris has been referencing in all these posts over the past few days. I’m here because we thought that if we were going to talk about cowriting, then we needed to give each other’s readers an inside look at what it’s really like to work together.

Marissa makes the whole process of creating a story so much easier because she generally has a pretty good idea of where she wants the plot to go. She’s good at creating momentum in a story, which is FANTASTIC news for me. I love worldbuilding and playing around in universes of my own creation. But creating a coherent plot with a beginning, middle, and end? Not always my strong suit. I’m usually the one with notes about characters’ personalities and quirks, while she comes in with ideas about where the characters will go and what they’ll do. Our stories benefit so much from her vision, and I feel like I’ve gained so much skill in plotting and outlining from working with Marissa. 

I’ve talked on my blog about how I see Marissa as the more organized mind of the two of us, but we do get into this zone sometimes where we both throw out ideas and let things flow together. It’s my favorite part of our whole process, and it usually comes right at the beginning. We do a big brain dump of all our ideas for the story. It’s mostly incoherent and yet we both feel like we’re on the same page the entire time. And then we take a few days to shape it into a real outline. That’s how we ended up with the plans for Kindred, a dystopian YA novel that Marissa came up with the idea for. And that’s another cool thing about working with her; any time we’ve done any successful collab, the initial idea was always hers.

Lastly, she’s always cool if I lose track of time or let life things get in the way of writing sometimes. We both have lives and we don’t get upset if one of us has to cancel plans or be late with an update. She is so supportive of the non-writing things I do with my life, and I always want her to be successful in her non-writing things. We’ve come to a stage where we are friends first and collaborators second. Ris just finished her manuscript of her first YA novel! I couldn’t be more proud of her! And I was honored to watch from the sidelines and beta read when she asked. She’s about to graduate with her MFA and she was offered a job she was really hoping to get. I’m so excited to see where life takes her next. I guess that’s become my favorite thing about working with Ris; being a proud big sister whenever she does something awesome, and sometimes even getting to be a part of it.

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