The first time I wrote a story with someone else, I think I was in high school. It might have been junior high. I can’t really remember. It was a long, long time ago.
I wrote it with two of my closest friends, and we had great plans for it. We were going to turn our little novel into an animated movie. I transformed the novel into a screenplay. We recorded the dialog for it. I pieced together bits of my favorite soundtracks.
Remember, this is long before the digital age. So I recorded soundtrack CDs on cassette tapes and edited them together using my old tape recorder.
We recorded the dialog with a crappy old microphone stuck in a Coca-Cola can so it could sit at the center of the table and reach all four of us equally.
It was awful.
Literally, completely awful.
But we had a good time doing it. That was my first experience with collaboration. The three of us girls sat at a computer. I was the fastest typer, so I would type, and the other two would tell me what their characters would say. My characters would respond. And we just bopped right along that way until we finished.
We actually finished several novels that way. None of them were good, mind you, but we finished. Not bad for some geeky little high school kids.
So when my best friend asked me about writing a story with her, I wasn’t sure how it was going to work. At the time, she was living in England. She had just finished writing a novel with another friend here in the States (over Skype … seriously … not making that up … check out their novel over at Crosshair Press).
I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I’d been fine writing a book with someone else when I was younger because I’d been certain nobody but family would ever see it. It was a fun project, and it was far from even being good. But this? Writing a novel with her at this stage in our lives, it would be something professional.
Or at least, it needed to be professional.
But she convinced me to try it
We traded off the first few chapters, deciding to switch character perspectives in each chapter. And because we like to make things difficult, we decided to try writing in a genre we know next-to-nothing about: Steampunk. And because we enjoy complication, we decided to release it as a serial.
I’ve written some serial stories before, mainly during my short-lived stint as a fanfiction writer. Did you know I wrote fanfiction? I haven’t updated it in YEARS, but it’s still up on Fanfiction.net under the penname Amos Whirly if you want to check it out.
I’ve always been fond of serials, dating back to the kid’s meals at Chic-Fil-A when I was a little girl. We’d get Adventures in Odyssey tapes in our meals, and I was always eager to go back in hopes of getting the conclusion of the story with my order of chicken nuggets.
So I’m hoping that our little serial will inspire others to enjoy a story in small pieces. There’s nothing quite like anticipating the next chapter in a story.
The series is called Birdcages.
It sounds a bit random, but it will eventually make sense toward the end of the story. What’s kind of cool about this is that we’ll release it in bits and pieces every two weeks. It’ll be delivered to your email inboxes in bite-size chunks.
It’s a crazy adventure, following two women and a goat named Mr. Quinby on a quest across the world to locate a priceless lost artifact. These two gals are about as opposite as you can get, so they have quite a good time getting in and out of scrapes together.
We also decided to do our own promotional material for the series as well. That meant a photoshoot, which meant models. But fortunately we know beautiful people.
Hailey Gonzalez (left) and Elena Nightingale (right) were two of my drama kids when I was a high school youth leader, and they were totally game for shooting at various locations around Wichita. These girls were troopers, let me tell you. We did the shoot on December 20. Most locations were outside. And it was FREEZING. But they didn’t complain. On the contrary, they were rock stars.
And, yes, we got a real goat. Her name is Paige, and she was an absolute sweetheart. Her owner is a dear friend and big fan of our writing, and all we had to do was ask if we could borrow a goat for a shoot. And she packed the goat up in a crate and hauled her downtown for us.
We had so much fun! And the photos came out great.
I’m really eager to share this incredible adventure with everyone. To drum up interest in the series, I actually got to post a short story I wrote about my character on the Crosshair Press website last Friday. So you should go read it. It’s a ton of fun, and I got to stretch some writing muscles that I don’t usually get to use.
If you like the short and want to read more, sign up for the Crosshair Press newsletter. The serial is only for Crosshair Press newsletter subscribers, so sign up if you want to keep reading.
It’s a story I love with characters who are tons of fun, and my best friend and I can’t wait to share it with everyone!