“How in the world do you two write together and stay happily married?” Don and I laugh when we’re asked this question. Believe me, we understand the challenge—and fortunately we have an answer. A two-pronged answer that addresses the hard times and leads to the happy ones.
Foundational to our writing relationship is that we compartmentalize our jobs. Don writes the plot; I write the characters. He sits at his computer and pounds out the adventure, then turns it over to me and I develop the characters. In short, our talents are different and we simply don’t step on each other’s toes. For the life of me, I can’t begin to think of all the ups and downs and twists and turns that Don comes up with for our story characters (poor things). And although the story Don creates is exciting, the characters he peoples it with simply carry the action. You know, he did this, and she did that, and then this happened.… Enter moi with personalities, character traits, back stories, and emotions galore.
That’s the happy part of writing together. We love it!
Then there’s the challenging part. Mind you, the story is Don’s sweet baby. He gave it its head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes—and along I come and do surgery on it. I move around eyes and nose, lop off arms and sew on additional toes. He’s upset. And I won’t put down the scalpel.
What to do?
I hope you guessed this prong. Yep, we pray. It clears the fog of emotions in our heads, refreshes our hearts in Jesus, and enables us to talk to each other about what’s best for the story. There’s no loser. It’s a win-win-win situation (the third being the story).
And so we stay happily married. We love it!