Moira Rogers Quacks about WritingFriday, March 6, 2009 11:13
I met the Bree half of Moira Rogers several months ago in a multi-fandom community, and from there it was like some kind of synergy had taken place. Our taste in books, particularly romance, is frighteningly similar, and so when the first Moira Rogers books came out, I became an instant fan. Now, with Crux, the dynamic duo of Bree and Donna have taken a leap into urban fantasy that Sandy and I both love. In celebration of the release of Crux, Bree and Donna, the two halves of Moira Rogers, stopped by the pond to talk to us about their writing process. Stay tuned at the end of this post for a contest!
And now, please welcome Moira Rogers!
When Shannon gave me a long leash to come up with my own topic for a guest blog post, my first thought was, “Oh, she’s going to regret this.” Before we get started, I feel like I should issue a disclaimer up front so no one can say they weren’t warned:
I, the Bree half of Moira Rogers, am an enormous geek.
There, I said it. No take backs. I’m a dorky McDork pants geek princess, and on most days my partner in crime is no better. Donna and I love gizmos and gadgets, comic books and computers, and we really, really like RPGs. We met our husbands in a table top role playing game at the local comic book store in a true romantic comedy tale too geeky for publication. We played dozens of games over the years, and we always had one thing in common: we drove everyone crazy with our elaborate back stories and highly flawed characters who were more likely to get the party blown up than actually kill the bad guy.
What can I say? We love a good redemption storyline.
Donna and I are a comparatively rare oddity in the writing world. We’re two people who share a single penname, and that penname is our career. We’re not two authors who have joined forces to write works together; we’re two writers who have joined forces to become one author. There’s a Captain Planet joke in there I’m dying to make, but I don’t want Shannon to beat me too severely when this is over, so I’ll refrain.
We get a lot of questions about how we write and what our process is. People are always fascinated that we have taken this seemingly terrifying leap of faith together, that we do something so intensely personal as telling a story together and somehow at the end of the day are still friends.
The first thing I tell everyone who asks is this: it is not for everyone. We have our epic battles and fights, our spats and our disagreements. We have hurt feelings when someone says, “Oh, okay, so what you’re saying is you want them to name that baby Deus ex machina.” (Ouch, I’m still smarting from that, Donna. More so because you had to be right.)
There are a hundred ways to write a story, and I don’t think any of the methods are the one true way. What I do know is that I can’t imagine working with someone who didn’t prioritize the story elements in the same way I do. Donna and I have our gamer roots to thank for this agreement, I think, because our number one concern is always the characters. Every character in every book we write has a complex history, family, a personality, trouble and triumphs. Every character. That guy who showed up for 3 minutes on the telephone? Him too. We love creating characters. We stash facts and tidbits about them in a top secret wiki—facts that might look a little like a character sheet.
At the end of the day, we almost never have a story idea before we have characters. Our characters shape our stories because each one is the story we think we want to tell for this character. It also means killing them feels like the loss of a person with so many potential stories left to tell, but when you’re writing dangerous books, sometimes you lose people. (Sob.)
Now the nitty gritty: how do we do it?
We each have our stable of characters, and we are the boss of them. All their words, actions, reactions and feelings are ours to decide. We do not have fights over what a character “should” do, we discuss what a character “would” do and how the heck we’re going to fix the repercussions of any given action. We literally write around each other. We don’t each write a chapter, or a POV scene, or anything like that. We write…paragraphs. Or sentences. Or sometimes words. Sometimes those words go in each other’s sentences.
Our husbands are used to listening to us hash out plots. “What would Joe do if…” “But how would Keith react if…” We don’t get to wing it, or we might be writing two different scenes. Even with careful planning sometimes the story can feel a bit like wrestling something into place, because while Donna and I think almost the same…well, almost is still not completely. Sometimes she’ll write a character saying something that would have never in a million years occurred to me, something I never would have written on my own.
And that’s when it feels a little bit like magic.
I could talk all day about the little details, but sometimes it’s hard to tell just what parts of this people really want to know about. So if you have a burning question about life as one half of Moira Rogers, ask! Nothing is sacred…well, a few things are sacred. Like the true location of the Bat Cave. But other than that, ask away!
CONTEST! Three winners will be chosen to win copies of anything from Moira Rogers’ backlist But you have to work for it! Leave a comment on this post with your questions about Bree and Donna’s writing process and you’ll be entered into the contest!
Thanks to Bree and Donna for stopping by and quacking with us!