I visited the excellent MURDER SHE WRITES blog today to talk about the fine art of collaborating… writing a screenplay or book with another writer. Here’s an excerpt:
In TV, you work for the Executive Producer, who is often the creator of the show, and with a room full of other writers. Your job is to tell a story the way the EP does, to establish and maintain a shared vision of the show and voice for the characters. You plot stories with other writers and often rewrite each other or just an scene or act of someone else’s script. (This is even true when you are the EP — you may be in charge, but you need to run the writers room, guide the plotting of stories, and usually have to do a polish on every script). Working this way gives you a real objectivity about your work and a willingness to accept feedback and other points-of-view without your ego getting bruised. It’s all about the show, not you.
In books, the writing is usually a singular pursuit. One author, one voice. But much of my novel-writing experience has been collaborative as well…
For more, check out the post at MURDER SHE WRITES.
Janet Evanovich was a guest on CBS THIS MORNING on June 17th to talk about THE HEIST and how we wrote the book together. Although I wasn’t interviewed, I was there in spirit and in the flesh…I was in the green room and was on camera in candid shots several times during the show (I didn’t realize they had a camera in the green room! They caught me chatting with Sen. Dick Durbin at one point and later with Janet before she went on the air). I thought Janet did a fantastic job!
Janet Evanovich and I visited “Virginia This Morning” live from New York today to talk about THE HEIST. Here’s the clip. The anchorwoman called me an “Emmy award winner.” I’m not, but I thought it would be rude to correct her.
I was going to write a blog post about how Janet Evanovich and I came up with THE HEIST…and how we write together…but reporter Rich Heldenfels at the Akron Beacon Journal did such a great job doing it for me in a great interview with us, I may not bother. Here’s an excerpt:
“But with two halves miles apart. Evanovich lives and works in Florida, while Goldberg is based in Los Angeles. So there were phone calls, and some visits to Florida by Goldberg, and help from Evanovich’s daughter Alex and son Peter, both of whom work for her company Evanovich Inc.
“We spent a lot of time talking at first, and coming up with the characters, and making sure they were the characters we had been dreaming about, and who they were, what were their aspirations. We made long lists of character analysis,” Evanovich said.
But — surprising in a crime-novel writer — Evanovich said, “I suck at plotting out a book. It’s just not my thing. And Lee is brilliant at it. So, after we set up our characters and our mission statement, Lee went off and set up the plot.” A world traveler, he also knew most of the locations firsthand. (“The only place in this book I haven’t been, and Janet hasn’t been, is Indonesia,” Goldberg said. “So I called people I know who have been there, and did a lot of research.”) But there’s an Evanovich touch in the romantic-sexual tension between Fox and O’Hare.
Since Evanovich was busy with a new Plum novel, Goldberg wrote the first draft of The Heist. Along the way, he sent pages to Evanovich, who made comments before Goldberg continued.
When the first draft was done, “by that time I was done with my Plum, and I took it over,” Evanovich said. “I did a very extensive editing of it … because we wanted a product that would satisfy my readers as well as his audience.… My job was to take all of the good stuff he did and put it into my voice” — while retaining a sense of Goldberg’s style.
“I learned so much from her about writing, and about telling stories, and about humor,” Goldberg said of their work together. “She has raised my game enormously. I’m learning all sorts of new things. … There’s a humor that only Janet does. She can take something that I’ve written, for instance, and just by deleting a line or two, or twisting the phrasing, suddenly raises it 1,000 percent. Or she will put in a female point of view that I never would have thought of in a million years.”
Random House is going all-out promoting THE HEIST, the novel I wrote with Janet Evanovich. They’ve produced three trailers and a slick national TV commercial for the June 18th roll-out. I’ve never had that kind of promotional support before and it’s very exciting. I think they’ve done a good job selling the “franchise” and tone of the book in just a few seconds. I’ll have the commercial and trailers posted on the site soon…but in the mean time, here are links to them on YouTube. Let me know what you think!
And there’s the Signed Collector’s Edition, which is the same as the standard edition, except that it’s hand-signed by Janet and me on a special pre-title page… it will be available at Target and some independent mystery bookstores.