Today I have the privilege of having a married team guest star on Rambling Voices in My Head. Thank you so much for joining us Kimberly and Dmytry!
Married to Your Co-Author: 5 tips to staying happily married while writing a book together
Many couples would find it hard to work together day in and day out, with desks just a few feet apart, particularly if their job involved subjective creativity and intense deadlines.
We (Kimberly Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov) have worked together like this since we moved in together, after several months of long distance dating. This dating involved constant phone calls and 24/7 internet access, so even then, we were nearly always together.
While we have our own projects, as full time writers we are always involving each other in everything, from design, to music to story ideas. We've written a few short stories together in the past, but Kiss Me in Paris was the first full-length novel we co-wrote together.
The journey was an intense one. It was the first contemporary romance either of us had written (since both of us come from fantasy/paranormal writing), and we wanted it to be more than just a love story. We wanted Kiss Me in Paris to be a novel that would evoke deep and varied emotion from its readers, that would make you laugh and cry and fall in love, all the while living vicariously through Cade and Winter as they learn to follow their dreams, heal from the past and open up to each other and to life.
So how did we do it and still live our own happily ever after? Here are 5 tips we learned to surviving the creative process while married.
1. Get on the same page, figuratively speaking.
If you're going to co-author with someone, you have to share the same vision for the book, the characters and the plot, or it's dead in the water before you even start.
This was actually the easy part for us. We're a lot alike, and our writing style and approach to novels is very similar. We couldn't have done it if not for that.
We rarely disagreed about the novels content. When we did, we asked for outside opinion (usually from our editor, Tracy Riva, or our awesome beta readers) and discussed the pros and cons of our different approaches. The approach with the most pros always won out, but we often found creative ways of fulfilling the intent of the other person, even if not in the exact way they'd wanted.
2. Learn to compromise.
When you're writing a book with someone else, you can't always have it your way. You have to work together, not just on the content of the book, but on the speed with which you write, edit and release the book.
We learned to comprise. Kimberly really pushed to get the novel finished, while Dmytry really pushed to keep editing. We balanced each other out, and finished a high quality product. It's never good to launch before the book is polished, but also, you have to know when to let it go and move on, otherwise you'll spend your whole life on one book. Together, we created a book that we can both be proud of, even if we did have to delay the launch a few times.
During this, we both acknowledged what the other person brought to the table, and how together we were doing something we couldn't have done on our own, at least not in the same way.
3. Play to your strengths.
Every writer will have their own strengths, and in a co-writing situation, you need to play to those. In our case, Dmytry is the faster outliner and I'm faster at prose. We also each enjoy those parts of writing more, so that's how we divided our tasks. We'd talk through the book, the characters and the story and make sure we both contributed to the big picture of what happened, then Dmytry would write detailed outlines for each chapter.
He also added a lot of dialogue, as he is very good at writing dialogue.
Kimberly would then flesh out the chapters, add prose, add more dialogue and even scenes and tweak as necessary.
We would then re-read the chapter together, changing and editing and adding and deleting, until we were both satisfied that the chapter was a 10. Once we'd done that level of editing on it, we sent it to the first round of editing, then beta readers, then editing some more. At the last, when we knew the content was exactly what we wanted, we sat together for two days straight and read through every single word of the book OUT LOUD. We then polished and perfected the prose, and sent it once again to our two editors for a final review.
It was an intense process, and there were nights we lost our patience, but it was worth it in the end. By playing to our strengths and using our team well, we created a book we're very proud of.
4. Balance real life together.
There's a unique factor in co-writing with your spouse that you don't run across in co-writing with someone else. That is real life. You know, three kids, dishes, dinners, cleaning the house, unclogging the toilet, doing laundry, mediating disputes and investigating mysteries (who really did take that 28 cents minion #1 says was stolen?)… these things don't disappear when you're writing a novel.
But we were both so busy and had so much work. Neither of us wanted to stop our work to, you know, feed the minions. But we had to. Because it's our other job, and also, starving minors in your care is still illegal. This isn't the Hunger Games. So we had to delegate tasks, support each other and also, let some things go. Our house is never perfectly spotless, but when we're on deadline, let's just say we turn a blind eye to, oh, everything. As long as the living room where we write isn't a mess, we ignore the rest.
This is the hardest one for us, but probably the most important. Our marriage and our business are two different things, as overlapped as they might often be. When we disagree about something in our book, we can't let it become personal and affect our marriage.
But when it's 4 a.m. and you've been working for three days straight and you're tired and grumpy and stress-eating and the other person disagrees with you. Well, it's hard NOT to take it personally and blow up.
We usually handled this with humor. Because what else can you do? We have the best job in the world, and we're both hard workers and very ambitious, but we're also ridiculously in love. So, we snap, and then we laugh and hug and kiss and maybe take a break to, you know, research a few of the steamier scenes we're writing for the book. Because we can. We're married.
Through it all, the greatest part of working together was seeing our dream for this book realized as early readers responded with such enthusiasm to our 'book baby.' We learned a lot about ourselves and our marriage, and about writing and life, while creating Kiss Me in Paris, and we're super excited to tackle our next big project, Kiss Me in Cairo.
And this next book will likely hold its own set of challenges. Neither of us have been to Cairo (whereas Kimberly studied in Paris), it will be more mystery/romance, and we want each Kiss Me book to be romance, but also be unique unto itself.
But we've never backed down from a challenge, and we work so well together, that in the words of Barney from "How I Met Your Mother"…
Pick up your copy of Kiss Me in Paris on Amazon, B&N, and wherever ebooks are sold.
Add it on Goodreads at: http://bit.ly/XPBKCZ
About Kimberly Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov
Dmytry and Kimberly are the husband and wife writing team behind the KISS ME Series, Eye of Newt, Sunrise and Nightfall, Wanderlust, and The Fallen Series.
Kimberly is the award-winning, bestselling author of the New Adult paranormal romance series The Seduced Saga, the YA paranormal thriller/romance The Forbidden Trilogy, and children's fantasy series The Three Lost Kids.
Connect with Kimberly online:
Dmytry writes fantasy—be it urban, dark or epic—is a musical composer, pianist, and designs books covers (exclusively for his wife's and their co-authored books).
They live with three little girls who think they're ninja princesses with super powers and who are also showing a propensity for telling tall tales and using the written word to weave stories of wonder and magic.
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Check out the next stop in the tour with James DiBenedetto at http://www.writingdreams.net
He will have an INTERVIEW waiting for you!