When it comes to questions we get asked often, right up there with “where do you get your inspiration” is “how do you guys write together? The short answer is that we alternate chapters and points of view, but that’s the super simple version. To understand our process, you have to understand how we met, became friends, and started writing together.
The first thing you need to know is this: we are geeks. Like, seriously, guys. Not only have we both been space/survival/fantasy/dragon/time travel/explorer nerds since we were tiny, but we’re also gamers and fangirls and proud of it.
So let’s rewind nine years and visit a little online roleplaying game set in the world of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. See some familiar faces? Yep. That’s us, meeting for the first time. We were both newcomers to that game, and didn’t know anyone. We met while creating our characters, and in an effort to not be alone, latched onto each other and decided our characters knew each other as children, and are just meeting each other as adults for the first time.
(Dear Past Meg, the answer to your question is: EXTREMELY FUN.)
This is a conversation we had on the day we met. And yes, this is a screencap of the actual conversation, with only the names blocked out because we may someday write about these characters and this story that started us writing together. As you can see, we literally became friends while planning a starcrossed, love-to-hate-to-love romance between our characters.
To this day, we still plan and begin writing each book by roleplaying our characters. We started off writing characters in another author’s world—think interactive fanfiction—and then moved on to creating our own worlds.
(The corresponding scene from the final version is on p. 234-235 of These Broken Stars.)
Our first “draft” is really the pages and pages of logs we have from playing these scenes together, in which neither one of us is taking over. The conversations our characters have and the choices they make are things that we decide on together, on the fly, based on what the other character is doing. It’s as close as we can get to watching the actual characters come to life and tell us how to write their stories.
Once we’ve played out enough scenes and scenarios for us to know our characters backwards and forwards, we move on to drafting. And only then do we start splitting up the work by chapter. But as you can see, a lot of the dialogue and the general story still comes from what we roleplayed. Drafting just puts it into a more traditionally readable form. (And cuts out about 100,000 words of conversations that never make it into the final book!)
It’s honestly some of the most fun you can possibly have typing words on a keyboard. It says something that we did this just with each other, just for fun, with no one paying us or giving us any kind of affirmation, for over six years before it ever occurred to us that maybe we were writing things other people might want to read. Even if we never sold another book, we’d keep doing this for fun the rest of our lives.
But, you know. If you keep reading them, we’ll keep selling them. Because that’s a hell of a lot of fun too.
This Shattered World
by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.
Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.
Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.
Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.
Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.
Don’t forget to visit the other tour stops!
Monday, December 8 The Midnight Garden Secrets of Starbound: Characters
Tuesday, December 9 The Book Smugglers Making an Audiobook
Wednesday, December 10 Ivy Book Bindings Secrets of Starbound: Science and Settings
Thursday, December 11 Cuddlebuggery How Amie & Meagan Met
Friday, December 12 Little Book Owl Video Interview
Tuesday, December 16 Xpresso Reads Starbound Inspirations
Wednesday, December 17 A Book Utopia Video: Your New Book Boyfriend
Thursday, December 18 Supernatural Snark Q & A
Friday, December 19 Love is Not a Triangle Gender in Science Fiction
Amie and Meg are hosting a giveaway which you can enter below!
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