Did I mention I'm working on a top-secret urgent collaborative project with a good friend of mine? It's going really well, in fact we're in the final strait, with only a handful of chapters to go. If anything, we've written too much already, which is a luxurious position to be in!
I don't want to talk about the actual book itself (more on that later), but my Mystery Friend and I (oh okay, you all know it's Penni) agreed the other day that it's the perfect project for working mums.
Because we're taking turns to write chapters, the person who's "off" can't think too hard about what to write next; you have to wait and see what happens, so you can fit in with what the other person's said. (We do have permission to tweak each other's chapters, but so far we have only used that right sparingly.)
Because each chapter is only a couple of thousand words, there's no temptation to push yourself too far -- "Oh, I'll see if I can write four thousand words today..."
Conversely, because we know the other author is waiting for the next installment, there's no temptation to be completely slack -- "Oh, I think I'll forget about writing today and just eat chocolate in front of Oprah." (Not that I would ever do that.)
Best of all, there is the constant fresh surprise of a new chapter, new action in the story, appearing every few days without any effort on your part! It's magic! It's like the novel is writing itself!
And because we've set up the outline and agreed to it, we're free from that torture of indecision that always strikes midway through any writing project -- "The second half is rubbish, the plot doesn't make sense, I know, maybe I should write it from the pig's perspective!" Paradoxically, there's been some security in giving up total control.
But equally, for the first time, I genuinely can't see inside the heads of all my characters, because, well, they're not all mine! At first it was deeply scary writing dialogue and action for someone else. But it's become easier, as I've grown to know and love the characters better.
The whole thing is/has been a huge amount of fun, and in unexpected ways. More later.