Writing Books-Husband and Wife Authors: The Good, the Bad, and the Funny.
I never gave it much thought, until several people seemed impressed that both my husband and I are authors. We write thrillers.
Perhaps two people having the same profession is not an oddity, but doing it under the same roof might appear to be a challenge. Yeah, it can be. Let's break it down.
Our first line editor is each other. When I have finished my first draft, my husband, Chuck, will read and critique it. I value his editorial feedback. He gives me perspective from a male point of view as I give him the female perspective for his writings. I often tell him, "I can't feel what you wrote in this scene." He will give me the male viewpoint. More testosterone needed.
We both trust and support each other. Our minds think differently and I believe this makes our stories better. We use each other as sounding boards. A lot of time we don't agree (I did tell you we were married, right?), but we listen. We are each other's biggest fan, and harshest critics, which leads me to….
In the beginning, Chuck worked full time as an air traffic controller and had started writing his first novel. When we got married, his writing was side-lined with blending two families and getting to know each other as husband and wife. We dated ten months before we decided to tie the knot. When Chuck did start writing again, he asked me to give him input on what he had written. He said be "brutally honest." I thought he meant that. I will admit, having spent my entire career around men, I was not tactful. This did not bode well for us. He took his manuscript back and basically fired me. (It was okay. The pay was, well, non-existent.)
His input with my manuscript was that my timeline was like "lost in space". I just wanted to write. But, it appears there are readers who don't appreciate a morning snow and later that day in the same scene it is summer. Picky, picky, picky.
Now we edit with "tough love".
Remember when my husband took away his first manuscript after I had critiqued it? After Chuck went to a writers group for several months, and finally let them critique one of his chapters, he gave me back the manuscript telling me, "There is nothing you can say that will hurt my feelings." The group's input was more brutal than mine. Now when he gives me a manuscript, he will say you only get one red pen. When the ink is gone, you are done editing. We both like to laugh.
As for me, I would like to give him a half dozen red pens when I hand over my writings to him. I lack confidence my writing will measure up. And of course, he will reply we need to head to the store and stock up on more red pens. :)
A household of writers needs the good, the bad, and especially the funny. We talk about our plot lines, characters and give each other feedback. Listening is an important element in any relationship. Shared ideas make a story twice as powerful. We always celebrate milestones in our quest to provide readers with entertainment.
As indie writers, we work hard to perfect our craft. I read a book by one of my favorite New York Times best-selling author and was so disappointed in the story. I asked Chuck how this book ever got past the high paid editors. He believes when an author reaches a certain level of success, their editors don't question the quality of their writing. SAD! Very SAD!
But, husband and wife authors will probably never have that issue. Brutal Honesty makes a good book better.