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HE SAID, SHE SAID: HOW WE MADE TWO WRITERS SOUND LIKE ONE

August 3, 2022 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , , ,
HE SAID, SHE SAID

My wife, Janet Elizabeth Lynn, and I have been crime writing fiction for several years. In the beginning, Janet was the first to take a of couple classes and workshops. That was after we discovered we didn’t know what we were doing. I was a bit reluctant because the whole writing thing was foreign to me.  But she came home with tools and information that opened my eyes.

When Janet was writing solo, she would often ask me to read some of her work. I’d make comments like, “A guy wouldn’t care what brand of shoes a woman was wearing” or “A guy wouldn’t say/think that.” It got to the point where one day Janet was writing and said to me—“Will, if you were a guy…” to which I replied, “What?”

Thus began our co-writing partnership. I would tweak many of the male characters’ voice styles while Janet handled the female roles.  We’d brainstorm the plots, discuss our characters’ quirks and make sure the characters’ voices sounded different enough while maintaining the voice of the story. Next, we read aloud to each other. Sometimes one of us would fall asleep during the reading, but that just meant we had to fix that part. If it bored us, it would surely bore our readers.

The result is that our writing had become a true partnership in authorship and our stories sparkled (in our eyes). We now take turns polishing and refining our work before handing the manuscript over to our editor.

And after all that… we’re still married.

Will

Janet’s Website    

Will’s Website


Janet’s and Will’s Skylar Drake Novels

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

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Partnering at Book Events: The Two in One Challenge by Janet Elizabeth Lynn

September 3, 2018 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , , ,

Partnering at Book Events | Jannet Lynn and Will Zeilinger | A Slice of Orange

My husband, Will Zeilinger, and I co-write the Skylar Drake Murder Mysteries. A hardboiled series that takes the reader to 1950s Los Angeles and other areas of the west. Our new book, Slick Deal, begins News Year’s Eve 1956 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The first murder and clues lead to Avalon, Catalina.

Partnering at Book Events | Janet Lynn and Will Zeilinger | A Slice of OrangeAs authors, it is important to get out and meet readers, fellow writers and present your book to the world!! Thus we have a long line of public appearances we schedule each year.  Since we present together (usually), the trick to present as one entity without tripping over each other. We refuse to play the “good cop, bad cop” routine so many writing couples do when giving talks. We choose to present ourselves as professionals, showing respect for each other and the profession of authorship. So here is how we work our appearances:

Author Panels: Quite often we are asked to be part of a panel with other authors. The Moderator will send a list of questions to us or ask us to submit questions. Since we write together, we are treated as one entity. So instead of repeating each other, we take turns leading the answer to the question, then the other adds a few words. This keeps us from “dominating” the panel and staying on the topic.

Book Signing Events: We often appear with other authors while signing books and meeting readers. Rather than the two of us tripping over each other, we take turns finishing each other’s sentences. Most of it is off the cuff, and readers get a kick out of it. Again the important thing is not to dominate the event since the two of us is an entity of one.

Our Book Launches: This event is just the two of us. Since our series star, Skylar Drake, is a male detective, the reading is always done by Will. After all, it’s all out of a guy’s head. I summarize the novel and give a brief character study of Skylar Drake. Then we switch off with Q & A about the inevitable question, “How exactly do the two of you work this without killing each other?” We make sure the books for sale are pre-signed, so readers aren’t strapped with trying to run both of us down for signing. We will add a personal note if requested

As keynote speakers: Our presentation always starts off with a summary of the book, a reading by Will and the journey the book took from conception to print, and we always . . . I mean always, have two to three funny stories about our research or interviews. We finish by switching off responding to Q & A.

When partnering in writing both of you must present as one entity with two different takes on things. That is how the book is written, two different takes on plots, subplots, characters and conclusion resulting in the entity of one book.

The results of our research? SLIVERS OF GLASS, STRANGE MARKINGS, DESERT ICE and SLICK DEAL and coming next GAME TOWN …and yes, we’re still married.

Website: www.janetlynnauthor.com

Blog: www.themarriedauthors.blogspot.com

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Partnering in Writing

May 3, 2018 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , ,

 Partnering In Writing | Janet Lynn and Will Zeilinger | A Slice of Orange

Partnering in Writing: Researching with two brains and four eyes.

 

My husband, Will Zeilinger, and I co-write the Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series, a hardboiled series that takes the reader to 1950s Los Angeles and other areas of the west. Our new book, Slick Deal, begins News Year’s Eve 1956 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the first murder and clues lead to Avalon, Catalina.

Having to research can be overwhelming, especially for period pieces. Because we write about the 1950s, research is a must for the reader to get the feel for the setting, decade and culture of the novel.

Since there are two of us, we want to make the most of the time spent at the library and/or museums. Splitting the work up and knowing what each of us is looking for needs to be planned rather tightly. Phone calls to the librarian asking how the information is filed can help. Also, the librarian, given enough time, will many times pull the material for you and have it ready when you arrive.

We still use pen and paper because of the rapid pace we research. Be sure your partner is situated at the same table. When we were researching SLICK DEAL at the L.A County Library in Avalon, I came across an article about the Catalina Grand Prix. It was held from 1951-58. I nudged Will. He read it, and his eyebrows went up. We were thinking the same thing…an unexpected subplot!

Then there are the meetings to decide what fits in the story. Several meetings and discussions followed by making lists of plots and subplots.

SLICK DEAL was released April 16, it is the fourth in the Skylar Drake series…and yes, we are still married!

         

Website:  Janet  Elizabeth Lynn    Website:  Will Zeilinger


 

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Co-writing: Getting Your Ducks in a Row by @janetlynn4

January 3, 2018 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , ,

Ducks In A Row | Janet Lynn and Will Zeilinger | A Slice of Orange

 

Getting your Ducks is a Row

 

My husband, Will Zeilinger, also a published author, and I decided to come together and write a 1950’s hard-boiled mystery, the Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series.

Without organization, nothing, and I mean nothing, would get done!

[tweetshare tweet=”Getting Your Ducks in a Row by @janetlynn4 Tips for writing with a partner” username=”A_SliceofOrange”]

Brainstorming

Though we each bring different things/skills to the table when it comes to writing, I am the one who seems to get the organization together. During the early life of the novel, we start off brainstorming. No idea is too “outrageous” or “stupid” to write down. This includes characterizations, character names, background, and their part in the story.

Plot meetings

From there come several plots and subplots. An in-depth discussion of each follows. We then find the main plot that may even be several subplots melted together. This comes about over several meetings, we try to limit them to five. If we need more than five meetings to get any one of the issues resolved, something is usually wrong with the characters, plot or subplots and we revisit it by going back through prior meeting notes.

Purpose and agendas

Each meeting needs to have a specific purpose. Agendas are a great way to keep the discussions on track. When writing mysteries, like we do, this is an absolute must. We keep copies of all meeting agendas and decisions which helps with future reference, especially when we are stuck and can’t remember why we made the decision we did.

From this point, we set a timeline for when things need to be completed. If we do not meet a timeline that is a warning to get going and focus.

The results? SLIVERS OF GLASS, STRANGE MARKINGS and DESERT ICE. Our fourth book in the series, SLICK DEAL, will be released in February 2018…and yes, we’re still married.

 

Janet Elizabeth Lynn

Website: www.janetlynnauthor.com
Blog: www.themarriedauthors.blogspot.com


DESERT ICE
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GETTING IT DONE by @JanetLynn4 and @Will_Zeilinger

October 3, 2017 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , ,

Getting It Done | Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn | A Slice of OrangeWhen you write with a partner you have a common goal of telling a story and getting it down so it can be edited.  Our process is a bit odd to some because after the brainstorming, research, outlining, and first draft are completed we take turns adding scenes, embellishing the dialog, and massaging or decorating the scenes. We turn the manuscript over to the other and go through the same process.  This back and forth helps us to see the way the other partner is thinking.  During that time, the one not editing can do more in depth research to find some interesting things that will help bring the story to life.

Getting It Done | Janet Lynn and Will Zeilinger | A Slice of Orange

An extra hand

One of the most important aspects of writing as a team is reading the completed chapters aloud to one another.  This allows us to listen to the flow of the story and (since there are two of us) the consistency of voice.  During the readings we sometimes get “AHA!” moments and find the story making a dramatic shift or turn as a result.  At this stage we sometimes eliminate a character who is getting in the way or bring one back whom we hadn’t heard from since chapter three.  We’ll have to admit there have also been times when a character’s name needed to be changed, because we found  their name was too hard to pronounce during the reading.  We also tried to keep vocabulary simple enough that the reader doesn’t have to get out the dictionary to figure out what our characters are saying.

As writing partners, we also learn that inspiration and great ideas can occur at any moment. Recently, we were on a cruise and through a conversation with some of the other passengers, Janet came up with a terrific scene that she couldn’t wait to type in.  We didn’t have access to a printer but when she read it to me, I knew it was perfect for the story.

We may not always agree on changes, but sharing the tasks of editing gives each partner a chance to take a break from the red pen.


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

If you’re in the Long Beach, CA area, go see Janet and Will at Gatsby Books.

Saturday, October 7th from 3:00 to 5:00 pm.

Getting it Done | Janet Lynn and Will Zeilinger | A Slice of Orange

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