There are those who would tell you co-writing is a fickle demon mistress.

I tend to agree with them.

Writing itself is a lengthy and difficult process, co-writing more so because it involves two creators. Yet two minds are indeed better than one, and Chris and I complement each other nicely, each making up for the weaknesses of the other. It’s like a sort of literary two-man potato sack race. Here’s how we make it work.

Discounting the initial stages of childhood and adolescence where we came up with most of this stuff, the process begins with us sitting down and coming up with an outline. This at first consists of a single concise statement such as “Battle of Aquias” and gradually expands into a reasonable, page-long document with chapter breakdowns. Then Chris sits down and starts writing, usually well into the night – which is readily apparent in his spelling when he sends me his progress.

After numerous questions of clarification, this will get me thinking about what I could add to the mix, and I toss some ideas his way. He usually likes these, and runs with them, often mutating one into a brilliant new idea that he wings back at me. Without fail, I hate this idea and tell him so. Two weeks later, once I’ve forgotten about said idea, he runs the unmodified proposal by me and I absolutely love it.

We eventually get a first draft banged out and then I start editing – which is a nice way of saying that I shred each sentence apart with a chainsaw until it is refined to my content. During this process, broader content edits also result in us both adding characters and scenes, cutting characters and scenes, and completely rewriting at least one chapter from scratch. By the end of it all, it is practically impossible to say who came up with what because everything has been pureed to perfection.

For this work, we’ve also gone back to our illustrated notebook roots. As an artist and a very visual person, I decided to make the intro to every chapter be a “sketchbook” page – as if I were writing this in a notebook and wanted to doodle the major characters or starships that appeared in the subsequent chapter. And like the written origins of our characters, some of these sketches are based from elementary-era drawings while some are entirely new. I think that the pictures add something for the other half of the brain, and just go to show how much thought we’ve put into this.

It’s obscene, really.

Which brings us here, to the beginning of our tale, a tale that has been in the telling for the past ten years of our lives. This story was conceived a decade ago and abandoned, then rediscovered and fleshed out to completion. Rather fitting, I think, for a saga that blends the ideas of past and future.