Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Perks and Perils of Writing with a Partner With Guest Blogger Margaret Breashears

The Perks and Perils of Writing with a Partner

When we started writing together, we didn’t know whether a mathematician and a Ph.D in women’s history could actually write a romance novel. So, of course, we jumped right in.

Who knew years of teaching geometry gave Donna insight into cause and effect, or Margaret’s ton of history books and biographies provided endless backgrounds, motivation, and settings? All the solving of logic puzzles and hours of reading were worthwhile.

We shared a love for action-packed stories, a fondness for spirited lovers and feisty ghosts. Now learning the craft – point of view, show not tell, characterization, goal, motivation, and conflict – let’s just say those skills took a lot of workshops, discarded pages, and hair pulling to soak up.

Despite the occasional gripe of “You don’t like any of my ideas,” we eventually mesh our creative visions into a humor-filled, love story chock full of adventures, mishaps, and surprises. Angst simply isn’t in our repertoire.

Logistically, we write face to face using one computer with dual monitors and keyboards. While our editor dubbed our setup as dueling keyboards, our writing method is more talk it out, put it on the screen, then revise, revise, revise. Getting each other’s facial expressions, hand flutters, and rolled eyes into words is still a challenge.

Sharing the ups and downs of writing is a definite benefit for us. There are two of us to figure out how to Facebook, Tweet, Twitter and blog. We have a built in critique partner to add spark to flat scenes, provide missing words, locate typos, and flip the story upside down if it becomes too predictable. We also have a shoulder to cry on when those nasty rejections get us down, and someone to celebrate with when we sold our first novel.

Actual writing time, maneuvered around two family schedules, can be a bit challenging. But there is a bright side. A set time and place motivates us and keeps us turning out the pages. When we aren’t together, we let the ideas stir and grow so that we return to our work with fresh twists and turns.

But the best perk of all is our laughter and friendship.

Margaret Breashears lives in Allen, Texas with her husband, Eddie. Retired from teaching history, she can be found either at the stable riding her horse, Evento Rex, or at  her writing with her partner Donna Helmedag about spirited lovers and feisty ghosts.

Margaret Breashears and Donna Helmedag


  1. OMG! Your story belongs in a book. Well, you'd have to kill one of you off on paper. :) Seriously, you two are inspiring and a true testament to friendship and determination. I can visualize the dueling keyboards.

    Great post, thanks Margaret, Donna, and Jeannie.

  2. Thanks Jerrie. Margaret and Donna