My husband, Will Zeilinger and I have been writing together for more than five years. We co-write the Skylar Drake Murder Mysteries, a hardboiled detective series that takes the reader to 1950s Los Angeles and other areas of the west. Our newest book, GAME TOWN, the fifth in the Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series, was released April 15!

book cover of Game Town shows silhouette of man with gun and a woman in a long gown with palm trees in the backrougnd

Without organization, writing with a partner can be a disaster. Some partners just start writing and go paragraph, by paragraph each checking the paragraphs as they go. With this method, a book would take forever to finish, like a millennium!

So, outlining is the best way to get started on a novel with a partner.

But there are things you need to prepare prior to outlining. The important part is that you both agree and see the story in your heads as it unfolds.

Here is the process we follow:

1. Discuss when and where the story will take place. We chose to follow the seasons of the year. SLIVERS OF GLASS, which started the series, takes place in winter of 1956. Our latest book GAME TOWN takes place in early spring of 1957, with three books in between following the seasons of the year.

Slivers of Glass | Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger

2. Research locations both of you would like to use, then pick one. This, we find, is where many stories fall apart. Many partners we know who write together can’t seem to agree. We usually pick 3 locations, Google them for the 1950’s, and pick one that we think will be the most interesting to the reader and us as writers. If we can, we visit these places.

3.Character Development is another thing that partners seem to have difficulty with. We each come up with a couple of character personalities and see which personalities we can use or combine into one. Usually we end up laughing over some of the characters we come up with. Then we get serious.

4. Outlining starts with me. I follow the three-act method. I rough it out then give it to Will. He goes through it, adds scenes, changes a few things and gives it back to me. This “back and forth” continues until we are satisfied, about ten times.

It is important to understand that an initial outline doesn’t mean it is carved in stone. The outline and story morphs as we do research and as the story unfolds. But the outline is something you both agree to then watch it develop.

The results, The Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series, SLIVERS OF GLASS, STRANGE MARKINGS, DESERT ICE, SLICK DEAL , and just released GAME TOWN.

Janet

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The Skylar Drake Murder Mystery Series

DESERT ICE

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DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

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GAME TOWN

SLICK DEAL

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SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

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SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

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STRANGE MARKINGS


Author Details
Author Details
Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955. Janet has published seven mystery novels, and Will has three plus a couple of short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and lives in Southern California.

DESERT ICE

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DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

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GAME TOWN

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS
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Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955. Janet has published seven mystery novels, and Will has three plus a couple of short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and lives in Southern California.

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