KJ Larsen | What's Team Writing? Everything You Wanted To Know
March 21, 2012
One day three sisters - with no better sense - became accidental writers. It
happened on a whim at a seaside café with a staggering view of the Olympic
Mountains. We were hunched over a bucket of clams, crusty sour dough bread, and
a bottle of wine. A guy played jazz on the saxophone and a hunky waiter got
hotter as the night went on. (OK. It was Happy Hour.) Our sister Kristen was
visiting from Chicago. We talked about the books we're reading, the men we're
seeing, and Uncle Hal's god-awful toupee. We wanted to find something that
would help us stay connected when we got home. That's when we decided to write
Growing up, we created our own Nancy Drew dramas. We sisters have always been
passionate about mysteries. Regretfully, we knew nothing about writing them.
But we figured if you write as a team, you only have to be 1/3 as smart as a
real writer. Do the math.
Julianne called the hunky waiter over and ordered a round of mojitos. We
scribbled notes on a napkin. Soon we had Cat DeLuca and her Pants On Fire
Detective Agency. Cat's a lot like us but more-so. She has more leg, more
money, and more sex. Cat is an unlikely heroine. Her partner, a beagle named
Inga, is likely to eat the evidence. We threw in an outrageous, interfering
Italian family, a couple smokin' hot guys, and Mama who serves equal portions of
pasta and guilt.
For a little time each day we get to be in that place we lose as kids. We never
take ourselves too seriously. We write for the joy of being together. And if
we laugh, we think there's a good chance you will too. Shared-writing is a
process that has its ups and downs. There's a lot of give and take and a little
bloodshed along the way. We've learned a lot about each other and about
ourselves. But in the end, we remain fast friends. For us, writing is a
journey best shared.
Here's a few things I've learned about team writing.
1) Your teammates will almost certainly hate some of your ideas. Screaming is
childish and may not change their minds. You won't know until you try.
2) Before committing to a team, imagine you're stranded in an elevator for
twelve god-awful hours. If you can't possibly do this without killing someone
or slitting your own throat, run for the hills.
3) Get over yourself. Learn to trust each other's muse. Know that what you
create together is larger than what any one of you can create alone.
And always make it fun.
What about you? Who would you write a book with? Why? One commenter will
win a copy of STICKS AND STONES
Kari, Julianne, and Kristen Larsen are guilty of creating Cat DeLuca and her
Pants On Fire Detective Agency. Their debut novel, LIAR LIAR, was awarded a
Library Journal Best Mystery 2010. Cat's second great adventure, STICKS AND STONES, was
released February 2012.
Facebook: KJ Larsen
54 comments posted.
Re: KJ Larsen | What's Team Writing? Everything You Wanted To Know
I would love to write a book with my son. He has really great ideas.
(Debbie Penny 5:36am March 21, 2012)
I have two birding friends that I think would be wonderful to write a book with.
(Marjorie Carmony 6:24am March 21, 2012)
I have a very vivid imagination an I think my daughter has a good since of imagination also. That would be fun and interesting to do together. Thanks
(Margie Gagarin 6:49am March 21, 2012)
I would definitely want to write a book with my daughter. We've already
discussed doing so, but right now her school workload is too heavy for us
to devote enough time into it. We like similar books and have the same
quirky sense of humor. We'd make a good team, because I can bring the
depth and maturity, while she brings in the freshness and modern voice.
It's good to have ideas coming from someone not already too jaded about
I was surprised when I first found out that Liar, Liar was actually written by
three sisters. Kudos to all of you! That book was absolutely wonderful- I
loved it! I laughed my way through it and loved the colorful characters! I
can't wait to read Sticks and Stones.
(Debbie Burdeen 8:05am March 21, 2012)
Fun topic! I would enjoy writing a book with my best friend. She is always a riot and we have a similar outlook on people and life. It would be hilarious to put some of our observations about people to paper. Now you've got me thinkin'..hmmmm... :)
Good luck and happy writing!
(Tracie Travis 8:27am March 21, 2012)
I WOULD WRITE WITH MY BEST FRIEND, JANET..I AM IN IT TO WIN IT!
(Silvana Moscato 8:39am March 21, 2012)
Boy I'd love to write a book with my brother...what a story we could write. HA
(Bonnie Capuano 9:13am March 21, 2012)
I think my sister-in-law and I would make a good team. We could come up with some good stories.
(Kathleen Bianchi 9:22am March 21, 2012)
I'm not sure who I would write a book with - possibly my sister because she's so creative! I would NOT write one with my husband. There'd be blood on the walls for sure.
(Rebecca Whitehead-Schwarz 9:32am March 21, 2012)
I would write a book with either one of two people - my best friend Lisa, who is a lot like me, yet she is like my alter-ego, so our book would have a lot of funny slants to it, and never be boring. The other person would be my other best friend Pete, who is so smart, and his tastes are varied as mine are, but since he lives in England, I'm not quite sure what we would come up with for a story line. We all know each other, so it might even be fun for the 3 of us to collaborate together!! In fact, they've both told me that I should write a book, and they didn't say it to be funny. I would love to read your book. It sounds like it would be just the thing I need right now to perk me up!!
(Peggy Roberson 9:35am March 21, 2012)
I was smiling the whole time I read that blog! This is such an awesome idea and I hope you all are very successful! I would definitely write with my sister, we worked on a photo album/memory book for our parents 50th anniversary recently. We laughed and yelled at each other and ended up closer than ever when it was done. Sisters rock!
(Renee Pajda 10:07am March 21, 2012)
To pick one of my favorite authors would be hard. But since Christine Rimmer and I have a strong relationship over the years I would like to write a book with her. I review her books and they grip you in their hold.
(Jane Squires 10:25am March 21, 2012)
I had a neighborhood friend who read the same books I did. She thought we
could write better books together. We gave it a lot of thought. During this time
we both moved and got more involved with our families and lost contact. I agree
with those who say they would NOT write with their husbands or sisters. Enough
(Sandra Spilecki 10:32am March 21, 2012)
I'd probably write a steamy romance with my fiance because we
seem to just finish each other's sentences anyways and when we
argue, we just walk away. When we come back, it's like
nothing every happened.
(Sharmila Prasad 11:26am March 21, 2012)
I'm not sure I could write a novel with anyone--I'm kind of a loner and don't take with being around anyone for too long a time without wanting my own space. I always hated group projects in school so that's not a good sign for being open to a group writing project.
(Sue Farrell 11:44am March 21, 2012)
I would love to write a book with my father. He has had a life full of so many adventures that would make great stories.
(Diane Pernick 11:49am March 21, 2012)
My mom wanted to write a romance with me when we took a long cruise. OMG! Could you imagine writing a sex scene with your mom?!? Of course, I suppose we could have written a "clean" romance. But what's the point of that?
(Anne Muller 12:52pm March 21, 2012)
I would choose my best friend. I've done projects with her before that have worked out well.
(Mary Chin 1:23pm March 21, 2012)
There was group of gals that ate lunch together at work. We all liked to read and we would put our own comments to what was happening in the book. We re-wrote many plots and endings that were so fun. Yep, it would be that group of gals.
(Rosemary Simm 1:55pm March 21, 2012)
My best friend Becky has a wonderful way with words and a quirky sense of humor. She would be my writing buddy.
(Robin McKay 2:34pm March 21, 2012)
Being claustrophobic, I wouldn't be able to make it through 12 hours in a stalled elevator. Unless, of course, it was me and that hot dude who's been flirting with me, who helps fulfill that elevator fantasy ....
Who would I write with? My two best friends, who don't even know each other, although I've mentioned each of them to the other. All three of us are within a couple of years of one of the others in age (mid-50's). One is very grounded, a musician (like me), reads mostly mysteries and suspense, is obsessed with ironing stuff (or so it seems sometimes!), a single/divorced mom/grandmother and is rabbit and love-bird owned. The other is more laid=back, reads more romances along with the mysteries, is married, and is cat-owned. I'm the most foot-loose and fancy free of the three of us, never married, read just about anything except hard-core Westerns (Louis L'Amour and the ilk), and am sort of the bridge between the other two. All three of us like to cook and eat out, and then dissect the meals we've shared (so to speak).
I think the three of us could come up with at least one good book between us. Whether we would ever want it published is another question altogether, however!
(Lynn Rettig 2:37pm March 21, 2012)
I have one friend I would like to write a book with because she and I always read and share the same books.
(Joyce Bruner 2:56pm March 21, 2012)
I would write a book with my mother since we both love to read.
(Maureen Emmons 4:46pm March 21, 2012)
Definitely not my family... We'll argue like crazy... :)
Maybe my best friend because we know what each other thinks...
(May Pau 5:06pm March 21, 2012)
I would love to be able to write a book with my father. He always wanted to write a book of what took place while he was in the Navy in World War II while being on the USS Montpelier Ship. He is now deceased and had a diary and many notes. If we wrote this together, it would have been all his memories and notes and my input and suggestions along with the typing of the manuscript. Since that never came together, I think I'd have to write a book with my sister, because she's quirky and funny and we could definitely come up with something fun! She took some writing classes in college. I love that 3 sisters collaborated together and came up with a good book which I'd love to read! How great is that?!!!
(Linda Luinstra 6:02pm March 21, 2012)
I would love to think I could write a book with my sister but I'm not so sure....hmmmm....
(Jennifer Beyer 8:23pm March 21, 2012)
I would write a book with my neice Angie.
(Lisa Kendall 9:49pm March 21, 2012)
It would be a pleasure to write a book with my friends Marge and Pat. We met at a Breast Cancer Support Group. Because of emotional bound we relate to each other well.
(Joanne Hicks 10:26pm March 21, 2012)
I would write a book with my daughter,she has a great imagination.
(Susan Atkins 11:08pm March 21, 2012)
I had a great friend/writing partner. We wrote a book and articles and short stories. She moved away and her new job has her working long hours so no chance of even a long distance partnership. Even if I could figure out how to do it. :) I would love to renew this partnership.
(Penny Mettert 2:14am March 22, 2012)
I'd write a book with my daughter. She is clever, if I do say so myself.
(Mary Preston 5:53am March 22, 2012)
I have quite a few friends that have some tales to tell and of course my sister and daughters couldn't be left out. Maybe I should just start a book and pass it around so each of them write the next chapter. Hmmm????
(Becky Darmogray 8:55am March 22, 2012)
I would write a book with my mom because we love the same books.
(Pam Howell 9:17am March 22, 2012)
My best friend..our minds together would produce a wild book....lol
(Dawn Staniszeski 10:26am March 22, 2012)
I think that my oldest son has many good ideas...in fact he is
writing a "book" for his doctorate right now...but I don't get
to input on it. Haha.
(Mary Hay 10:45am March 22, 2012)
I would like to write a book with my sisters because I would get a better understanding of our family.
(Sheila True 12:52pm March 22, 2012)
I would write with a book with my best friend :) It would probably be very
interesting as we're very different people.
(Andrea Amy 2:06pm March 22, 2012)
I would write a book with my mother. We would both have different insights into the story.
(Lori Belcher 5:19pm March 22, 2012)
I would love to write a book with my daugther. We both love to read. Love to win your book.
(Linda Hall 6:07pm March 22, 2012)
I would write a book with 4 of my girlfriends - we all have went thru so much in life that our book would be a hit :-)
(Stacy Novack 6:24pm March 22, 2012)
if i could write i would have to say Mr.S.King
(Jennifer Beck 7:53pm March 22, 2012)
I would love to write a book with my Mom because she instilled the love of books in me.
(Teresa Ward 9:26pm March 22, 2012)
The only person I know that can actually write is my daughter. She and I are so different though that we would be constantly fighting over the wording. I guess I am doomed to do any writing alone.
(Kathleen Yohanna 3:11am March 23, 2012)
I would write a book with my son, he is deaf and it would be interesting to make the protagonist deaf
(Susan Ashcraft 3:21am March 23, 2012)
Only with my brother...he has such a wonderful sense of humor. What a book that would be...
(Bonnie Capuano 8:00am March 23, 2012)
I might consider writing a book with my mom because she has tons of great stories about things that have happened in our family and to her as well as the fact that we are great at spinning stories together for our own amusement.
(Chelsea Knestrick 10:55am March 23, 2012)
My daughter, Steph. She's clever, witty and erudite.
(Karen Gervasi 11:24am March 23, 2012)
I would choose my granddaughter. She enjoys reading as much as I do and, also, has a better grasp of the English language.
(Anna Speed 12:12pm March 23, 2012)
My brother and his wicked sense of humor.
(MaryEllen Hanneman 12:45pm March 23, 2012)
My friend Joy and I have talked about this.
(Shirley Nienkark 2:50pm March 23, 2012)
I would love to write a book with my awesome big sister because we think a lot a like and are into the same things. We really click and get along well together.
(Ashley Applebee 7:05pm March 23, 2012)
I think the team concept would be tricky and could work as long as each one lifted their part. It seems a mammoth job to organize and come to some agreements. I know a few authors who like to write anthologies with an underlying theme.
(Alyson Widen 7:35pm March 23, 2012)
I would have to say my girls they are always coming up with the craziest ideas!
(Wendy Hulbert 8:17pm March 23, 2012)
I think if I had to chose, I would ask my mom to write with me. She has been an english teacher for many years, so we would have a better chance of avoiding all of the awful grammar mistakes people accidentally make. We have the weirdest, craziest conversations so I think we would have that part down. The hardest part I think would be to just organize everything.
(Alyssa m 9:10pm March 23, 2012)
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