Home > Columns > Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger > Starting a Novel Series with a Partner–The Stakes by E.J. Williams

Picture of writing partners, E.J. Williams, both wearing hats and one  holding a gun.

The Stakes

My husband, Will Zeilinger and I are E. J. Williams and we co-write the INTERNATIONAL CRIME FILES, a hardboiled/thriller detective series that takes the reader from 1960s Southern California, then on to international locales. STONE PUB goes to Ireland and is our first book of the new series.

Every author has a unique way to begin writing a crime novel. In this new series, we asked ourselves, “What is at stake?” This question gives the reader something to look forward to as they delve into the story.

The nature of these stakes needs to be agreed upon when writing with a partner. All future books should have stakes of a similar or more intense level.

When we brainstormed about what would be at stake in our first story, we arrived at four great ideas. After talking about them and coming up with subplots for each one, we wrote them down and decided to meet again. Our second meeting focused on the pros and cons of each stake. After considering all of them, we chose the third stake. Once we had the stakes chosen, the story was ready to be outlined. We didn’t realize until much later that we had stakes for the next three novels, all ready to go!

Brainstorming is the best way for writing partners to set the stakes. Remember . . . the most crucial thing is to write a good story. So stay tuned . . . there is more to come.

STONE PUB will be published May 2021, it is the first in the series, and yes . . . we are still married!

Website:  Janet  Elizabeth Lynn    

Website:  Will Zeilinger               


The Skylar Drake Series

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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.
  • Starting a Novel Series with a Partner: The Planning by E. J. Williams

    Planning the series, then planning the individual novel in the series takes a great deal of time. It is so easy to get stuck on one idea and not move ahead. The two of us had MANY ideas we threw around.

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  • Starting a Novel Series with a Partner: The Plotting

    My husband, Will Zeilinger, and I co-write thrillers, the INTERNATIONAL MYSTERY SERIES, as E. J. Williams. Our tales transport the reader from 1962 Southern California to various international locales. In the first new book of the series, STONE PUB, we find ourselves in County Cork, Ireland.

    @Will_Zeilinger
    @JanetLynn4

  • The Mystery of the Solway Firth Spaceman

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  • Chatting with Authors by Will Zeilinger & Janet Elizabeth Lynn

    Published authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the Skylar Drake Mystery Series.

    @Will_Zeilinger
    @JanetLynn4

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
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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