cute girls

As most of you know I spent last week with my CP and good friend, Jennifer Linforth, she’s my rock. When everything falls apart and I’m reduced to a bundle of tears, she’s the one I call. (And yes, this happens on a pretty regular basis. *vbg*) She understands me and how my brain works. She’s the bestest.

So, loaded down with Cheetos, M&M’s, Oreo cookies, chips, dip, beer & coffee (beverages for relaxing and perking up!) … we settled in for two days of brainstorming. I LOVE this part of writing … especially with Jen. She’s an historical author and I write the stuff her characters aren’t even supposed to talk about. Don’t ask me why this works–it just does. Some of our conversations are hysterical. But a story is a story. Torturing characters to create a page turner is the same regardless of the genre.

She sits in the overstuffed chair in the corner, laptop in hand and cats adorning her shoulders. I hang out on the arm of her couch across the room, my feet tucked comfortable under her HUGE chocolate lab curled on the cushions, and we argue explain chat discuss our plots.

Nina: I know … peepers!
Jen: *gales of laughter* How the hell did you get from a casino to little tiny frogs?
Nina: But it makes total sense they couldn’t get rid of the property because of an environmental issue.
Jen: At least choose something realistic like … *clicks away on computer* … woodpeckers
Nina: Like readers are going to care if they mow down trees for some ugly woodpeckers.
Jen: Well who cares about slimy frogs?
Nina:  Well if I can’t have my peepers you can’t have your peckers!

And this is how it goes for two days. We work on each other’s books for hours. It’s draining. But such a blast! I’ve brainstormed with others, but they didn’t know me, didn’t know how I think or what I write. Jen knows all this. When things go in a wrong direction we stop, reassess and start again in another line of thought. Brainstorming isn’t only about throwing out the wild ideas … which we do … but actually ending up with a story outline we can personally work with. Because let’s face it, no matter how much someone else loves the plot, if you can’t live with it … you can’t write it!

Jen and I are both pantsers … writing only from the skeleton of a plot. We’ve both tried to go the traditional plotting and outlining, but it doesn’t seem to work for either of us. I think this is one of the reasons we work so well together. Now we’re thinking about brainstorming a brainstorming workshop … complete with all the right junk food!

Jen and I live really far from each other. Otherwise our brainstorming would be more like a critique/brainstorming meeting once or twice a month. But we have to settle for a twice a year tradition. We’re hoping to find a third person, because let’s just face it … sometimes we get stuck. REALLY stuck. Her man helps. Sometimes he’s farther out there than we are, but other times his off-kilter thoughts take us in juuuust the right direction! (Kudos to you dude for the whole secretly signing of the property deed plotline! MAJORLY solved that issue!)

Anyway, I’ve started pounding out words and I’m incredibly happy. With any luck both of these books will be finished in the next couple of months. Thanks, Jen … I wubs you … but you already knew that.