64: The Art of Collaboration with JP Rindfleisch IX

JP Rindfleisch IX and Kathrese McKee discuss must-know tips for author collaborations.

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Transcript
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Sometimes we miss out on the fact that like writing doesn't

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have to be a solo project and never has to be a solo project

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can if you want it to be but just like any other of the arts,

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you can have a monologue or you can have a full theatrical

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production, it doesn't matter. And so it's all there to make

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art. And so that's really what I was like, let's do it. And it's

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been a really fun ride since

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a writing pursuits authors. Welcome back to the podcast. To

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those of you who are new, I want to extend a special welcome. My

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name is Kathrese McKee, and I'm glad you're here. If you are a

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writer seeking encouragement, information and inspiration,

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this podcast is for you. Let's get to it.

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Today I have a guest JP Rindfleisch , Rindfleisch , and

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we will be discussing author collaboration JP Rindfleisch is

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the co author of the ongoing paranormal humor cereal in rds.

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Yes, it does sound like nerds national recently deceased

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services. I love it alongside Dialogue Doctor, J. Jeff Elkins,

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and if you'll remember, there's a podcast a few times ago for

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Jeff Elkins. In addition, JP also has an ongoing

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collaboration with AB Cohen Cohen on a paranormal Academy

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urban fantasy project, the LEAH Ackerman series, their

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collaborations don't in there, and JP is also a co host of

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Writer's Ink Podcast, where they engage in conversations with

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authors about their publishing experiences alongside such names

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as JD Barker, Christine Daigle, Kevin Tomlinson, and Patrick

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O'Donnell on a local level.

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And this is something I'm really jealous of. I think it's really

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great. JP has created a group called Rockford Area Writers,

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which seeks to uplift local authors through craft and

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business and present them with opportunities to showcase their

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work to the public. Wonderful. They are also a Three Story

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Method Editor, offering services from editing to coaching to help

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authors find their voice and confidence with their writing.

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So I am so pleased to have JP on the program. Welcome JV.

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Hello.

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We haven't seen each other for like, almost two years.

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Yeah, forever. I mean, it's been two months. We're online,

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it is online. It doesn't count. Really? No, it doesn't not as

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much as it should. It's not as much as we would wish it did. I

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have a real easy question to begin with. One of the things

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you do is that author group, can you tell us a little bit about

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Rockford Area Writers?

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Yeah, absolutely. So I would say a little under a year ago, I

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went to my like, first local writers authors meet up. And I

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realized that we had some groups in the area. But they just

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didn't offer a platform for authors to talk to each other.

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And it was really strange. We even have a guild in our area.

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But every month they get together on a Zoom meeting. And

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really, it's focused on one individual, but there isn't a

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lot of time for conversation to really flow. Yeah, nor is there

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a community to talk to you like they don't have a chat group. So

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I was like, this is a area that's missing. I tried to offer

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to kind of expand in those spaces, but no one was really

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interested in that. So I said, I'll do it. And I made Rockford

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Area Writers. So that's in. Yeah. And in collaboration with

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the local independent bookstore hosted by Dave Patterson, he

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hosts tons of events for authors. And I basically do as

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much communication is I can to local authors to get us over

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there. So it's this really fun joint collaboration for both

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physical and online.

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So your middle name is collaboration JP

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Yes. Yes. 100%. Joke in a ton of slacks that I'm in that I will

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not talk stop talking about community or collaboration. So

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awesome. Mills. Great. So JP JP collaboration, Ryan, Rindfleisch

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, the ninth. There we go. And then what is your most recent

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collaboration? I guess you were he talked about that in your

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bio. But which one is the newest one?

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Well, there's another one. There's a potential one and I

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don't think that she would be upset with me telling her them.

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But Crys Cain, we may or may not know Crys Cain, yes. We may or

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may not be working on something together. Both of us would be

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using pen names for it. Just because exciting. Maybe or maybe

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not in the spicy range of things. But okay. It is a really

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fun project that we're we're kind of slowly going through. So

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it's a very baby collaboration at the moment.

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I could see that being a really great collaboration. Yeah,

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it's been fun so far.

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So how do you know collaboration? How did you know

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collaboration was for you. Obviously, it seems to be part

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of your personality. But how would somebody else know?

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I didn't. So, authors on a train 2020 This would have been

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January. So just before, what the thing we don't talk about,

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but I went to LA. And I joined authors on a train, which is

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being hosted by J. Thorne and Zach Bohannan. And we took a

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train from LA to about San Francisco. And then we stayed in

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this really big mansion. And there was about 10 of us. It was

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100% haunted, but it was an Airbnb mansion.

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Awesome.

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And the whole goal of authors on a train was to write a short

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story with another author. It was a collaboration project.

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That was the whole goal of it. And so I was paired with AB

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Cohen, ape, and we hit it off immediately, like on the train,

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we became best friends. I didn't really know him before, I kind

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of met him once or twice, but I didn't really know him before,

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right, and we just hit it off. We were best friends. We were

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like, Okay, we're gonna write, originally, we were going to

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write an epic, like a really short story, epic fantasy. And

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that immediately turned into horror. Because we were in a

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haunted mansion, we had to talk about the merging, and

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it's perfect. Yes.

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So our first short story together was the rules, which is

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available on both of our sites. And it does tie into the bigger

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world that we then created. But I didn't know until I just did

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it. Obviously, like I come from a manufacturing world, like

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where, you know, you work together, you work in different

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departments, but you're all kind of going to the same goal. So

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many people experienced that same concept. And I think that

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sometimes we miss out on the fact that like, writing doesn't

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have to be a solo project, and never has to be a solo project

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can if you want it to be but just like any other of the arts,

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you can have a monologue or you can have a full theatrical

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production, it doesn't matter. And so it's all there to make

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art. And so that's really what I was like, let's do it. And it's

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been a really fun ride since.

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How do you choose your collaboration partners? Well,

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obviously, that was serendipitous. But then you've

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had other people since then. So and do you have a contract?

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Yes. Okay. contract period, always every time. That one is,

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that one's right there with I, when we are at the stage in

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which we have the potential to make profit. I want a contract

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signed. So like, I mean, the thing I mentioned with Crys,

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like, we don't, we're not spending money, we're not

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earning money at the moment, because we're just in those baby

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first stages. So there's no big reason to start a contract right

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there. I trust her enough. We've been friends for years, there is

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no reason for that. But once we get to the stage where we need

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to start spending money contract, doesn't matter how

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close of a friend they are, contract.

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Well, that's the way to keep to stay friends is really to have

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it all worked out ahead of time.

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Yeah, yeah. It's those weird and hard topics that you just have

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to talk about, like, what what happens if I don't want to do

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this project anymore? Well, an Abe and I is, like, we talked

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about that. And we said, well, in that event, you know it

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exists is our IP. So I may get like 25% of it if you work on a

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solo project, within that story world, because we've created

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this big expensive world. But we have that written down. So it is

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clear. We have what happens when one of us dies, because again,

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yeah, have to talk about it. Because it could happen. And it

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did happen to Crys with one of her co writers.

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So that makes me sad. But yeah,

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it's unfortunate, but they had a contract. So it helped clarify

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everything that needed to happen.

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That's really wise advice. I really like to hear that. I

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mean, I have contracts with my editing clients for the same

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reason, just because, yeah, it spells everything out. And

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everybody's grown up. And we have it all figured out ahead of

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time. So I think that's great. I like the idea that you could

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kick it around a little bit. But then when it comes down to you

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know, push comes to shove, then you're going to have that

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contract to settle everything. Great. So then that brings up

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the other side of things, which is money, how do you split

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expenses and income?

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5050? Period,

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but how do you I mean, do you like

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Oh, for you? So with Abe and I tried to do the majority of it.

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If he finds something, he's like, wow, let's really do this

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project and he wants to head that up, then it's like, Okay, I

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will find my 5050 to you. But otherwise, like, I'll be the one

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that will take care of the invoices. Like we already talked

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about this ahead of time, because of all the like plans

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that I had, we were publishing under what's called Ninth

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Publishing, which is my publishing and Associates,

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because we just agreed that that would make sense. And then that

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way, I host where all the publishing is happening and I do

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all that. And so then when I get the income, I do all the splits

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and what I need to do,

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okay, well, I guess I was asking because I know that with

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anthologies these days, it seems like they might go through is a

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draft 2 digital? Who does work for you? Which fan, but takes

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all the guesswork out of it, I guess. But yeah, I suppose I get

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a split, or some kind of recompense for it. So you're

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usually just split expenses. 5050 And I guess that also gets

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spelled out in the contract.

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Yes, it's spelt out 100% in the contract that when we have a

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collaborative project, it is 50. But

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I'm very much a kind of a control freak. So it's going to

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be really hard for me to get involved. I've done anthologies

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before, but that's still your story, you know, a little little

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short story. How does a does having a writing collaboration,

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partner spark or smother creativity? And how do you work

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out style differences?

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This is a big can of worms. So we're gonna start somewhere. So

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when Abe and I started, we wrote the short story together, I

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would recommend, if you have never read, or worked on a

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collaboration before, so either read their work, the person that

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you're gonna work with, or have never done a collaboration

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before, write a short story with that person. Short Stories are

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easy to get out of, you can be like, You know what, this is

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great goodbye. Or you can keep going.

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But short stories are the best way to figure out if that is a

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good collab person to work with or not, i

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That makes some sense.

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Yeah, because like Abeand I, we, we were able to figure it out

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really quickly. And in all honesty, in that first short

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story, I took away a ton of Abe's voice because I was the

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one that came in the back, and I cleaned everything up, and I

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rearranged them. And I add that first. That was the first time I

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collaborated with someone. And in my head it was how can I take

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this work and really do everything I can to it. And in

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the back of my head. I didn't know that what that meant, which

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was how can I take this work and turn it into my own, though?

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Okay, that's a very good thing. So Do y'all ask a third party

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now to do your like cleanup work, as you call it?

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So what what Abe and I do is he'll first draft. And then at

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this point, because I, I learned where that barrier was, rather

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quickly, actually with a because we talked about it, because

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that's number one. It's a relationship, you have to

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communicate.

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Right? Right.

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So it was a very quick communication, like, Hey, I feel

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like you took my voice out, and we had a grown up conversation

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about it out. And then ever since then, you know, he'll go

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back and he actually reads it after I do my as good as I can

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get it pass from his draft. And he'll just, you know, either

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accept things or he'll kind of look through it. We send it off

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to a couple people like we send it off to a copy editor and a

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proofreader, we originally did developmental editor as well,

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because we just wanted that verification. But really, it was

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J. And after your third book, he felt like our ability to craft

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the story wasn't we didn't need him anymore for this story. Oh,

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such a grasp for it. So we've moved on to just doing the copy

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editing and proofreading.

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So what I heard was that because y'all go back and forth, then he

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gets the final kind of like, okay, look, I feel like this, I

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really want this line to be in there. I really want it to be

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said this way. So he has to go back in and verify.

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this, with the Leah Ackerman series, our main protagonist is

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Jewish. And I actually pushed a to bring more of that in because

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he is a Venezuelan immigrant and Jewish and I was like, we this

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character is perfect. But we need more of that we need more

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of that representation. So I pushed him to do that. And so

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he, I let him craft those pieces and really bring to light those

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pieces. And really when I come in and I do the edits for those,

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I'm like, I take as much care around the edges as I can. I'm

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just like, how can I make this sound better, but this is his

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area. And I mean, like we both know our strengths and our

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weaknesses when it gets to like weird occult-y stuff. Usually

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that's where I come into play when like we're he's really good

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at starting that and then I kind of just build off of that. So

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it's we know where we enter play and where our weaknesses are at

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this point.

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Is that like, kind of urban fantasy horror?

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It's a dark urban fantasy. What is its Yeah, it's a dark urban

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fantasy secret societies and demons.

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Oh, all right. Okay, I just talked about that. I did an

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episode on fantasy tropes. And so that was, that was one of the

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things I talked about was You know, secret societies and all

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that kind of stuff.

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Writing pursuits is run by Kathrese. McKee, who has been

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trusted by fiction authors since 2014. To take their writing to a

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new level of excellence. Guthrie's is a three story

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methods certified editor who specializes in story

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diagnostics, coaching, inline editing to help you prepare your

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story for the journey ahead. For more information, go to writing

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pursuits.com. The link is in the show notes. And now, back to the

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podcast.

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Can you give us a few tips or resources? For getting started

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with writing for leverage? It is something I've always wanted to

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do. I'm, I'm kind of looking for the right partner, and the right

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time. But you know how do I get started?

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Yeah, honestly, you just have to find a person that wants to do

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the collaboration. I mean, you can read as much as you want in

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regards to collaboration, but really, it's just writing. Like,

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it's mostly just writing and making sure that you have a good

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relationship with a collaborator. So it's getting

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yourself out there and finding, writing communities, learning

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people's writing styles, talking about collaboration and seeing

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who else has those interests. You can't just email someone

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randomly and be like, hey, I want to collab with your or you

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can't, I can't, I'm not gonna say you can't, you can do many

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things. But it is strange to potentially email somebody and

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be like, Hey, I have this idea and send them a whole outline.

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That's not a collaboration, hey, I have this story idea. And I

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want it. And I've seen that. So I'm noting that here, like,

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don't do those things. Collaboration is a start from

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ground zero, like Ava and I, Jeff and I, Crys and I, we all

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didn't have a story. And we built it. And we outlined it

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together. And that was the key is we had these meetings where

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we talked back and forth and we built a story. And then with Abe

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and Jeff, they first draft. And then I come in and I'll do the

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edits and clean up with Crys and I were doing back and forth A/B

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chapters.

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Are you each doing a different main character?

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Yes. Yeah.

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Okay. Okay.

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It makes it easier because then we can have those different

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voices and we know it like it's obvious, like it's, oh, it's a

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different character. Oh, it has a different voice.

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And Joanna Penn do something like that. And I can't remember

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who she collaborated with. But they went back and forth with

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main characters, as well. And so yes, and they were in different

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time zones, I think. But anyway, it was it was a pretty good so,

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you know, like in the morning here, she get this whole fresh

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load of stuff, and then she has to respond to it.

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Yeah, didn't wasn't that Mark Leslie Lefavre. And yeah, and

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it might have been, but what's that the writers on a train? I

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think Joanna pin was on one of those to New Orleans.

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She was on the first one. Oh, where it was Zach, J., Joanna

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and Lindsay Buroker

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and Lindsay Buroker. Okay. Yeah, yeah,

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yeah. You had you had Joanna who was at like the strange time you

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Lindsay broker who was just like vomiting novels out of left and

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right and right. What I remember so. But yeah, that that's

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another thing. Like, honestly, it's it's so difficult to say

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like, what resources are out there because a lot of the ones

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kind of went away when COVID happened, but it was finding

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those writing events where you can write with people. Maybe it

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starts with an anthology where you're just writing a short

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story to join in. But it's that networking, it's the community.

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That's where you figure it out.

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That's where you figure it out. I get you. Abe Cohen is Leah

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Ackerman series. And in the nerds is with Jeff Elkins. Now.

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That's a serial is that on Vella?

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Yes. Yep. It's on Vella. We're 78 episodes in this.

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Wow. Wow. That's impressive. are yelling. I mean, how do you have

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an ending in mind? Or is that kind of a close? Yeah, secret.

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We have an ending. So Vella, it's like it's like where do I

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even start with this? Vella doesn't call the released

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chapters chapters. They call them episodes episodes, though.

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They also call what would be considered about a novel season.

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And I think the Season part was actually picked up and chosen by

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authors as opposed to Vella. Because there's no like place to

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say season. It's just everyone knows and calls them seasons.

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Our first season of NRDS ended at episode 66. And then we

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novelized it, it's available on ebook and paperback. And then we

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are in what we call season two. And we have a plan for the end

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of season two and then we just don't know where it's gonna go

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from there because it's it's a dumb office meets Ghostbusters

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kind of thing. So it could go on forever, or it could end at the

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season. It's really just, you know, how are we or where are we

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at when we're done with that and how's the audience?

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That's just fascinating to me. And I love the idea that you can

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take the season and novelize it and release it to the world and

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and have a life beyond Vella.

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It is a really wonderful way to get your work very close to the

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reader in a way that you can't with eBooks. Because when you're

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releasing it on a weekly basis, not only do you have something

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in social media that you can post every week about it, but

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you have these people you see them reading through, you see

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Oh, are they? are they reaching the last episode I published?

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Oh, are they liking that? Oh, no. Are they waiting for the

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next one to come out next week, you get to see this, even if

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it's, they're not commenting, you get to see the statistics

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about like, where they're at and where they stopped. So it really

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impacts the way you write. And I've seen a ton of people who

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may not have actually published their first ebook start off on

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Bella. And at this point, they have four or five, six novels

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already published because they started on Bella. And they were

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just able to keep that accountability to themselves.

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So how would you compare writing for Vella to writing with Abe

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based on the fact that once a series a serial fiction, and one

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is an novels,

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so with Jeff, I get an episode or a chapter every week? It's

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about 2000 to 2500 words. They're they're kind of long,

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Jeff's Jeff's a little verbose,

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a lot of dialogue.

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Yeah. And so in terms of like Jeff and my relationship, like

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we have this constant, I'm getting stuff from him and kind

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of going through that. And it's kind of this weekly, I get to

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see where he's taking the story from the little prompts that I

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give him. And when we develop the outline, because we'll

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develop outline together, and then I'll make like dumb

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prompts. Because again, nerds is all about trying to make each

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other laugh. That's the whole point. We don't even care if

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there's an audience, we're just like, are we laughing. So I make

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silly prompts, like one of our characters, finds a new love for

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cleaning. And then he writes a chapter and it turns out that

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the character has now a mop that he's fallen in love with named

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Wanda, and that I have to go and edit that and figure out what

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we're going to do with this mop that now exists.

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Was it The Magician's Apprentice, or,

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basically. So. So in terms of that, like with with Jeff and

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with Vellas, it's it's more of a constant flow, like I get to see

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and I get to feel the story. And I get to edit as we go with a

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job. It may be months on end before I see a draft, and then

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all of a sudden, I've got a draft and I've got a whole book.

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And I'm like, until, like right now I'm working on book four.

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And I'm getting a feel because it has been a long time since

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we've done the outline for it just because of the natural

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process of writing a whole novel. It takes a

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novel it takes Wow. It's so

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so there's that that greater distance in collab with a novel

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than there is with a serial,

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Unless you're doing it like the back and forth like you're

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doing.

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Exactly, exactly. Yeah.

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So that that was that was a pretty good summary and a pretty

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good look into the different. You're like you got all kinds of

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things going on with collaboration. So in all

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different methods, it's a little complicated to keep up I

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imagine. So what things are you trying, you know, would you like

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to promote? Because I know there's a few things coming up.

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I have my own solo stuff. The next two things that are coming

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out for me are solo stuffs actually three. Now. I've got

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next month. Hopefully I don't have a date yet. But story

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hypothesis is coming out. It is a short nonfiction piece about

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my opinions on theme, and how to use Max Nieff's nine fundamental

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needs to develop that theme. I have a

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no I'm looking forward to that. By the way. I've heard you talk

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about theme. And so yeah, I'm looking forward to that book.

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And then in around October, I have Mandrake Manor. That was a

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serial, and it will now be a ebook and paperback and that is

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a queer, cozy fantasy. I'm calling it a suburban fantasy.

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So because it is. It's basically like Practical Magic meets HBOs

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looking, which is a queer romance story. So it's a really

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fun, fun thing that I've got working on.

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And it was it was a seriall first. Yes, that

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was a cereal first. Okay,

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there you go. Got feedback for readers. I imagined. That's

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golden, actually,

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I'm really excited because it had a pretty decent feedback in

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terms of it being on Vella. Like I knew that people wanted the

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story and that they were interested in it enough that I'm

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like, Yeah, I'm publishing this thing like Yes. And yeah,

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that's, that's where I'll end it with the promo stuff.

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Okay. Yeah. And then what about the book three then of Leah

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Ackerman last month, right? Yeah,

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book, book three came out last month, you are correct. Book

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Three deceived Bishop. That one is excellent. We're really

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excited for some readers to get to that. And we keep getting the

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same response, which is exactly what we wanted. So I'm not gonna

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spoil any more. But it's definitely very exciting to hear

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some of our readers that really liked this series, read that

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one. And then just immediately message I was like, Oh, good. We

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got you. And I'm working on book four. And that one, we're hoping

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to come out March, potentially sooner, but March.

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Yeah. But March is well, and that's a good time for like,

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that's considered to be young adult, right?

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Yeah.

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Yeah, that's a good time for that come out. Right. Before you

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know, spring break, all I can say. So I'm gonna have to have

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you come back on and talk about story hypothesis, because it's

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an important, I think it's an important thing for authors to

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think about. And And you've said in my my hearing that some

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things that really stuck with me, and so I just, I really want

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to get the word out about that. I think it's great. Is there

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anything else that I should be asking you about?

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I think one thing I want to tell your listeners because I will

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not stop getting off of the soapbox, okay is local, there is

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a local writing community around you whether or not there is a

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group that exists for it, there is one and if the groups do not

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function, the way that you would like to see, and you have the

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space or you have other author friends there, make it it's you

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can do that you're allowed and local, honestly has been one of

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the best supports that I've I've had, I've been lucky enough to

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have a local independent bookstore that really supports

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the local authors, provides space for us and is willing to

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hold and support our our merchandise when we when we sell

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it and promote it as they see fit. And like your local

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libraries, they host workshops, they, they would love if they

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had local authors, most local libraries would love that. If

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you have something that you want to tell, either it's a story, or

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it's a method or it's something like they want these workshops,

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they would love it. So really, I think at this point in time,

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where we are seeing massive advancements with technology,

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one of the biggest and most important things is to put a

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face behind what you do. And then I know for some people,

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that is not great. However, I will say there are even authors

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who were creepy, like horrific masks, and that's all that they

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they have, they do not have their face on Instagram. And

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yet, again, they have a presence. That is something that

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is tangible for people to interact with. And I think that

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even if it is not in a local physical space, having that

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presence and collecting that community is super important. So

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I just I think that you should get out there you should see

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what is available to your local area. And if you don't like what

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you see make something different.

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I completely 100% agree. Well, I really want to thank you for

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spending your evening with me and spending some time with me

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and given me the lowdown on collaboration. And I know my my

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my listeners are going to enjoy it. So thanks so much JP and I

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hope to talk to you again very soon about the story hypothesis.

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salutely All right. Well, you have a good evening. You too.

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All right. Thank you. Bye bye. Thank you for listening to the

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podcast today. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a

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star rating and follow the podcast. If you're new around

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here. I hope you will sign up for writing pursuits tips for

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authors, my newsletter that comes out most Thursdays when

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health and life permit that link and all the links mentioned in

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today's episode are in the show notes and writing pursuits.com

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Please join us on Wednesdays for new episodes and keep writing my

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