Adventures in Co-Writing – Adventures in City-State

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The Dystopian Nation of City-State has two authors.  City-State requires two authors with its sophisticated layer system, its corrupt government, its restricted societal class system, its nihilistic cult, and its magical floating city.

And what’s trending in City-State? It’s the hashtag, #helpmejames.

A little background: James and I attended high school together in Melbourne, Florida, in the mid 90s. We knew each other, but we were not close friends. Later, James went on to marry his high school sweetheart and one of my good friends, Kelly. In fact, I was in their wedding. We all kept in touch throughout the years.

Fast forward to 2011.

James messaged me and asked me if I could take a look at a novel he wrote – I have two English degrees, and I teach the subject. I was hesitant at first, but then… what the hell, right?

We have been writing together ever since 2012.

So… how do we operate? What makes a successful writing team? A few things…

1. Listen: Have an Open Mind – One major rule when working with a co-writer is being an active listener. James and I talk about every element of our literature, and we work through every option possible within our current piece of literature. With listening comes communication, and this is important – I never proceed with an idea without consulting James first, and vice versa. Trust is imperative within this process.

2. Shitty Rough Drafts and Brainstorming – There is nothing like having a writing partner for initial brainstorming and drafting. Bouncing ideas off each other has made City-State a better, well, a more evil and interesting place. When I am stuck, I just ask my partner. If I can’t think of the next great plot twist, character name, or literary device, James will. When he’s stuck, I pick up the “slack” – well, neither one of us slack off. It’s more like filling in the blanks.

3. Time Management/Efficiency – James and I both have full time jobs: I am a teacher, and he is a postal worker. We can’t drop everything and write (although we wish we could), so the creative process takes time. However, this is where co-writing is extremely beneficial: when I am waiting for him to return a piece, I always manage my time and work on something else to get ahead. On the down side, James and I have three to four projects running at the same time, and sometimes we are not on the same schedule when it comes to City-State’s short stories and the trilogy. But hey, there’s absolutely no excuse for co-writer’s block!

All in all, James and I work together very well, and we are lucky to have one another as writing partners. The stars aligned. So, back to work. I think I’ll work on… wait, I’m stuck.

#helpmejames

*Writings available via Amazon – search The Dystopian Nation of City-State
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dystopian.city?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
Twitter: Kaisy – SciFiWriter – @KaisyWMills
James – Dystopian_Scifi – @jamesacourtney

Adventures in City-State: Co-Writing with James Courtney and Kaisy Wilkerson-Mills

kaisywmills:

A little piece I wrote for this lovely lady’s blog… check it out! :)

Originally posted on Scribbles@Arpita:

This week on Saturday Specials, I have a special guest, Kaisy Wilkerson-Mills, who co-writes Dystopian Nation of City-State (an anthology of short stories related to the futuristic dystopian, post-American nation of City-State) with James Courtney. When I asked her to narrate their experiences of co-writing for a guest post, here is what she shared with me. Thank you, Kaisy for doing this!


The Dystopian Nation of City-State has two authors. City-State requires two authors
with its sophisticated layer system, its corrupt government, its restricted societal class system, its nihilistic cult, and its magical floating city.

And what’s trending in City-State? It’s the hashtag, #helpmejames.

A little background: James and I attended high school together in Melbourne, Florida, in
the mid 90s. We knew each other, but we were not close friends. Later, James went on to marry his high school sweetheart and one of my good friends, Kelly. In fact, I was…

View original 385 more words

Guillotina’s Short Visit?

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James and I are almost finished with the first part of a two part short story series entitled “Prescription for Ratings”.  While we are in the final stages of the first short, “Prescription for Ratings: The Contestants”, and we (obviously) are working on the second piece, “Prescription for Ratings: The Committee”.  This second piece features (more of) Tyler Wright, a young trauma physician who is thrown into City-State’s infamous Death Committee.

And what to do with Dr. Tyler Wright?  Well, while brainstorming, he may receive a visit from Guillotina – the supernatural woman with the long, straight jet black hair.

Hmmmm… only time will tell…

Will This One EVER End?

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The second beta read for “Prescription for Ratings: The Contestants” is complete.  Thank you to all of our beta readers!  Your comments and suggestions are wonderful – one of the reasons that this piece is still looming around our desks.

James and I are STILL rewriting the final copy… I feel like this short story will NEVER come to a close.

But it will…

Draft, draft, draft… edit, edit, edit…

Looking ahead, James and I are looking for reviewers for release day (whenever that will be).  If you would like to read and review, please let me know.

Killer Cover Art – Phase Two

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The cover art for our next short story, “Prescription for Ratings: The Contestants” is coming along well.  It’s almost finished!  City-State artist, Jamie Green, is phenomenal!

What do you think?

The actual story is progressing nicely.  It is in its last stages of the drafting/editing process.  Thank you to our beta readers – wonderful comments and suggestions!

Remember the first phase of the killer cover art?  Here it is:

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Stay tuned…

City-State Is Off and “Conning”

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And… here we go!  The Dystopian Nation of City-State will be at The Crystal Coast Con in October of this year.  This is very exciting for James and myself.  We will have the opportunity to share our works to a larger crowd – I cannot wait to meet everyone and their smiling faces!

I had a wonderful time last year, and I told myself that I would not just attend the event in 2015, I told myself that I would be a part of it.  Another goal met!

Check out their website: http://www.crystalcoastcon.com

Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CrystalCoastCon?fref=ts

The Crystal Coast Con is located in Cape Carteret, North Carolina (the east coast of NC – right by the beach).  There are some great guests this year – Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) and Walter Koenig (Chekov from Star Trek).  Mark your calendars!

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City-State Hits the Shelf!

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Another goal met!  The Dystopian Nation of City-State: An Anthology is shelved at my local library in New Bern, North Carolina.  It feels good – that print feeling feels wonderful!

The Dystopian Nation of City-State: An Anthology and “How to Kill Your Senator” are available via Amazon.

Update: Our newest short story, “Prescription for Ratings: The Contestants” is currently out on its second beta read.  James and I are awaiting the cover art, we will conduct a few final edits, and it will hit Amazon for $.99 sometime next month.

I love the art of self-publishing.  It’s thrilling, enjoyable, and now, it’s on the shelf.

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