Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Directions

You might think from the title of this blog that I'm a little confused about directions. And you'd be right. But that's neither here not there. At least not yet. And there's more than one explanation.

The thing is, I'm moving ahead with my life after being widowed, and stepping out on a new professional path at the same time.  My friend Pat and I are both writers, and we've been tossing around an idea for a novel we'd collaborate on. Last weekend at Westercon in San Jose we decided we had come up with enough ideas, and run into enough serendipitous discoveries, that we're going to have to go ahead with the project. No choice, it's sitting there in our paths demanding we get to work on it.

We plan to write a time travel novel together. A group of Viking re-enactors will go back over a thousand years into the past and meet their real-life counterparts, among other interesting and possibly dangerous characters.

I've never worked with anyone else on fiction before. I've published a short story about a Viking, and am working on a novel about him on my own. Pat has worked with other people in the past, but she's never gone head-to-head with me on a work. We've read each other's writing and made suggestions, which the other person was free to follow or ignore as she saw fit. This time we have to agree on pretty much everything--or else.

We're both fairly hardheaded. Pat has the stronger track record as a writer, but I've worked as a professional editor for more than twenty years, so we're about equal when it comes down to throwing our professional weight around. If we reach a point of serious disagreement things could, as they say, get interesting.

This raises a number of questions. How does a collaboration work? Who does what? How much will be a joint effort? How do disagreements get settled? Can our friendship survive? Will this result in a publishable novel, or merely be an excuse to get together and eat chocolate?

Well, there's one explanation of my title. I'm moving ahead on a new professional path, and it will take me into the past, clear to the days of the Vikings.

The other explanation is that after being married for most of my adult life, I have to learn to live as a single, independent person. I used to know how to do this before I met my husband, but I seem to have lost the knack. So I find myself looking back into my past trying to recover the tools and attitudes I took for granted years ago. I need to resurrect the confidence and abilities from my past in order to move ahead.

Both these journeys hold the promise of some interesting developments and discoveries. I decided to write my own record of what happens and how I handle it, and share it with anyone who might be interested. Let me know if you find it interesting, useful, or horrifying.