Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, yours truly has been diligently working on book four in my Poppy Cove Mystery Series (among health issues and life’s assortment of fun and games – it will get better, patience and perspective until it does). The process is always interesting, and such a learning experience every time, every step of the way. Although much of the work is sedentary and cerebral, the challenge of writing a story can be as exhilarating and daunting as mountain climbing and cliff jumping.
As many of you know, Barbara Jean is the shared pen name for two writers (Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff), and being such gives way to constant discussion and lively conversations of how things will happen to the residents and visitors to the the fair Santa Lucia. The girls love their imaginary people and places, speculating adventures and outcomes and the incidentals along the way.
They always have a plot and outline for what will happen in each book, a main story and some of what will happen to others and why certain things happen. But along the way, they discuss out loud and for many lengthy sessions on the details, the paths that the stories take. One will ask about a certain event or topic, the other will bring up something else. They will look at the progress of the story, the individual book, or a book to come, a plot point, a scene, or a certain piece of dialogue. Many people ask how can they work together?
Truth is, quite happily. They have known each other a long time (to say it again would just age them again, so let’s not and pretend we did), and have a great deal of respect for each other, themselves, and the project. The ideas come, they weigh them out, deciding if it fits there or somewhere else in the story, or in another book (or out the window, usually said in a tactful manner), remembering it’s not about ego, but the course of the story. Letting preconceived notions go, the storytelling can be as much as an adventure as the story reading, and sometimes surprising when the plot reveals itself, much akin to the next rock to grip on the climb, or finding that the view is wonderful from up here when you take that leap and land on soft ground.