Guest: Vina Jackson

IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO

by Vina Jackson 

We’ve been asked several times now what it’s like to write with another person. And not just to write, but to write steamy sex scenes. How do we do it? What’s it like to share such intimate prose with another? Do we always agree?

As both halves of Vina Jackson come from a racey romance or erotic writing background, we’re accustomed to exploring what our characters do behind closed doors in more detail than the average writer, so we took the saucy content of the EIGHTY DAYS series in our collaborative stride with barely a blush.

However, we did find it necessary to keep our voices down in the cafes and restaurants where we plotted the novels, to avoid offending neighbouring patrons who might not have been aware that our discussions of lascivious love affairs and tawdry love triangles were fictional!

The method was simple. We each chose a character to write, one of us as Summer and the other as Dominik, and then wrote chapter over chapter in alternating voices.

Initially when we were just experimenting with the idea and hadn’t yet been signed by a literary agent or won a publishing deal with Orion, we had a little more time up our sleeves so this was simple enough. One of us would work while the other would play, waiting to begin the next chapter, fully informed of the previous plot points and character development.

Once we were under deadline though, and with other work commitments to complete as well, we realised that we’d have to double our pace, bite the bullet, and write our chapters consecutively.

This meant that we needed to work more closely together in terms of plotting each section, to make sure that we were moving (creatively) in the same direction, and we were soon exchanging anywhere between twenty to fifty emails per day (making going back to check a past conversation close to impossible!)

However, our muses being as they are – stubborn, fickle creatures, predisposed to encouraging Character A to do X when the outline says she should do Y – meant that nine times out of ten we were collaboratively dancing in the dark, one of us working on a character or a plot point in Chapter 8, the other doing the same in Chapter 9, and hoping that the two would entwine perfectly.

Remarkably, that was the case in almost every exchange of chapters, bar the odd minor adjustment.

We would then edit each other’s work, checking that our writing partner had moved ‘our character’ along the way that we imagined they should, and correcting each other’s repetitions or making changes to improve the flow, and occasionally writing a paragraph for the other when one of us was stuck or more of an expert on the local geography of our setting, or the best way to tie up a lover.

We also swapped a chapter in two out of three volumes to keep our writing fresh and our reader’s guessing, so at some point during both EIGHTY DAYS YELLOW and BLUE, Summer has written as Dominik, and Dominik as Summer.

Whether we started in sync or we became that way is difficult to say, but by the time that we came back to our finished work to complete final edits and proof reading, neither of us was entirely certain which sections the other had written.

We hope that our audience enjoys reading Summer and Dominik’s adventures as much as we enjoyed writing them.

The first volume EIGHTY DAYS YELLOW was published in early August, and its sequels EIGHTY DAYS BLUE and EIGHTY DAYS RED are out in September and October. At the time of writing, EIGHTY DAYS YELLOW is no 6 on the Sunday Times bestseller list and has sold translation in ten countries as well as the US.

Below is the Amazon buy links and information for Eighty Days Yellow.

Caught in a frustrating relationship with a man who can’t accept her for who she is, passionate, flame-haired violinist Summer finds release in her music. She spends her afternoons busking on the underground, lost in the works of Vivaldi or Mendelssohn. When her violin is damaged beyond repair, Summer receives a surprising proposition from Dominik, a university professor with powerful desires, who has been captivated by Summer ever since he heard her perform. Dominik will replace her priceless violin, but only if she agrees to play for him in a private concert.

Unable to deny the chemistry between them, Dominik and Summer embark on an intense affair full of daring twists and turns, as unpredictable as it is thrilling. For Summer it is a chance to finally embrace her long-denied dark side, but she’ll soon learn that where there’s pleasure must come pain. And can a relationship born of such all-consuming passion, ever really survive?

Buy Links: Amazon (US) / Amazon (UK)

 

2 thoughts on “Guest: Vina Jackson

  1. My crit partner and I are about to embark on a project and the plan is to do it exactly the way you guys started out. What I would love to know is if you guys actually saved time doing it the way you finished, or if in the end, all the editing and fixing amounted to the same as in the beginning?

  2. Vina Jackson says:

    Hiya, so sorry for the late reply, I’ve just seen this!

    Writing together definitely saved time. We edited each other’s work as we went, and we were ‘in sync’ to such an extent that very little fixing was needed, despite the fact that we were writing chapters simultaneously and relying on the other to develop characters/plot etc in the same way so that it all fitted together.

    In our most recent writing, rather than chapter over chapter we split it into scene over scene (all from the same POV), and in my view it’s seamless (though I will leave you to be the judge of that – when/if you have a chance to read Eighty Days Amber).

    However I can see how this might not work for other writers. I think you really need to be in tune with your writing partner.

    But it’s worth a try. I found the whole process a great deal of fun.

    Best of luck with it.

    Vina (one half)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s