The creation of intellectual properties is a personal thing coming from private places, which makes us feel unique in our collaboration. First being two people sharing a common vision, second being gender different, and third, and probably most important, both being stubborn minded. We have been asked how do we make this partnership work. At which we roar with laughter, wondering does it really? Then realizing that, in fact, it does because we are both quirky and have abided by certain rules.
Rule One: Write for the audience.
Rule Two: Have something to say.
Rule Three: Remember rule one!
Rule Four: Never fight to win.
Rule Five: Fight for rule one.
We have been writing this column about some of the idiosyncratic processes we go through daily. It is a fly on the wall insight which shows our eclectic sense of humor and our passion to create. We both want to be learning machines and try every single day to be better.
A: (Adjusts her green sparkling hat and tugs on her a little too snug St. Patrick's day T-shirt) Do you think they are going to believe that dribble? (Pauses) You called me a machine?! (She hurls a 8.5 x 11 crumbled scrap at him)
Z: (In perfect soccer goalie defense he bats it away) Maybe...there is a lot of truth in it. (He provides the puppy-dog eyes hoping to sway)
A: There's a lot truth in that I'm a machine?! Oh go 'way... (says with a grin) you know that doesn't work.
Z: Finnne! Can you take a picture and maybe we can post it right here? Maybe others will be puppy-dog eye moved. Plllllleeeeasssse.
A: I can't believe that you can write moving love scenes while acting like a bowel movement!
Z: That's pretty harsh! (Showing the O-lipped expression)
A: You're right. I'm sorry. (Her turn to pull on the puppy-dog eye look...hers worked)
Later that day, after peanut butter and raisin sandwiches, which followed a plot sketching session where Angelica insisted that the gluteus maximus of our hero be of such a nature that a quarter could bounce a foot high off of it. Zi was arguing for two feet.
A: Sex... just sex.
Z: What? (Zi flashes the O-eyed look, whites around green) You said, sex!
A: Did not! (Everyone knows the flash to pout a child can do, Angelica has channeled everyone of those children)
Z: Did too! Sex...sex...sex! Freudian moment? Slip often? How was your fall...short? My spring was!
A: Hmmm...possibly, (Ignoring his humor and remaining serious or as serious as she possibly could feign) trying to figure out how close to the beginning we should have the hero and heroine have sex.
Z: Sex...sex...sex! (He grabs a blue Sharpie, prints those three letters and tapes it to the top of the Keith Primeau picture then does another and begins to do the happy river dance. The second paper is taped to his belt buckle)
A: (Spontaneously popping a snot-bubble from laughter she uses his Theodore stuffed animal to mop the matter, realizes that was cold and runs to the kitchen to provide the chipmunk a ho-s bath. Returns more collected, offers the damp-tushed chipmunk to Zi and retorts) Show some composure.
Z: (The pre-nocturnal enuresis of the chipmunk all happened unbeknownst to Zi. He stares with a quirky, I-ain't-touching-that look, and gestures for her to return Theodore to his bandstand) Our plan is usually to allow a relationship to grow. (He feels obligated to respond to sex...sex...sex!)
A: We are starting a new book, should we rethink this? Beginnings are important, wouldn't a nice romp be a grand hook? (Angelica's face befell that elevated eyebrow and aren't I a genius look)
Z: Have you been drinking the St. Patrick's grog?
A: Well.... it is the saint's day, after all. A toast to all that is green and Irish.
Z: Took you long enough to salute the day.
A: Humph! Look who is talking. You're not even wearing green.
Z: (Checks out his yellow shirt, tie and shorts) This isn't green?
A: (Remembers he is colorblind and feels sorry) Ummm, yes, sure it is.
Z: (Looks at her suspiciously, excuses himself for a moment and comes back with a Shamrock pin) There!
A: Ummm. I think we got off topic. Anywho, that hook's just a thought. Stories, whether it is a shorty-shorty or a novella or a mega-break-your-foot-if-it-falls-saga, all start at the beginning with every intention to have an ending. Let me read what I thought we write about for today’s blog... (Opens a file)
Excitement underscores every new beginning, totally infusing it with possibilities, yet there could also be the twitter of nervousness. After all, the unknown lurks like a slithering centipede, quick and quiet. At least that is the feeling one might experience when starting a new book. No matter the amount of preparation, plan or outlining an author can never be fully prepared for the snares and rabbit trails of a plot.
The first thought, the first line, the first paragraph should be the ultimate temptation for a reader. It is the hook that should make someone not just want to continue but need to continue. Of course, the entire book should pull the reader along but not gently, not timidly but with the launch and gusto of a rollercoaster ride, but one that starts at the precipice rather than a slow ride uphill. Later in the story you can have that drag, for the reader needs an opportunity to get their breath back, to feel comforted that the story follows reasonable lines, allowing room for the imagination to tug at their sensibilities, prompting questions about the possible outcome.
In romance novels there is that added element of intimacy, the meeting of hero and heroine that should include sparks, sometimes of a conflictive nature, sometimes of just a physical responses of instant attraction, instant chemistry. Which brings us to the point of how close to the beginning of a story should the hero and heroine meet?
Z: We're back to that?
A: I'm talking about the initial meeting, not sex.
Z: Just like a relationship should grow, so should the story. The meeting happens when all the elements are in place.
A: Hmmm, I'm no longer sure.
Z: We've been here, done this, and redone it. A good steak gets ruined if you cook it too long.
A: Mmmm, steak, baked potato, crispy salad and onion rings. Is it lunch yet?
Z: It's 9 a.m. What's with all the rethinking?
A: Starting a new book has me thinking because new beginnings often brings change.
Z: To quote Alphonse Karr, "The more things change, the more they are the same."
A: So the questions of the day are, should sex be closer to the beginning of a story? Should the hero and heroine meet on the first few pages? Should there be change for change sake? Should Angelica have steak for lunch and cookies for desert, or should she stick to her diet?
Z: The true answer is...whatever makes the reader want to turn the page.
A: Sometimes, you are a genius!
A: (Doesn't respond for she is in the kitchen looking for Irish potatoes)
We'd love to hear from anyone interested in what we do. Anyone who writes us at email@example.com (Write - Blog Dawn - in subject line) and leaves an s-mail address, we will send you a free ebook (choose erotic or romantic thriller) and add you to any future mailings.
Angelica Hart and Zi ~ Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane
www.champagnebooks.com - www.carnalpassions.com - angelicahartandzi.com