Latchkeys #3 Takes a Dark Turn With “Nevermore”

Debbie Viguié taks about the third installment of Latchkeys, coming in April:

People often ask me what it’s like to write with other people.  Frankly, it can be a nightmare or a rhapsodic dream. Writers tend to see their work as their children and get very upset when anyone else messes with their babies.  A writing collaboration, though, can be like happy, constructive co-parenting.  You make decisions together for the good of the family.  When this works well it leads you to have a stronger final product.

Latchkeys from the start has been a very different kind of product.  Instead of sharing the actual effort of co-writing each story all of us involved have merely shared the effort of creating the universe and setting up the premise for each story.  From my point of view creating the world is one of the best aspects of writing.  It is much more exciting than the actual job of putting the words on paper to tell the story.

With as many writers as we had we suffered from a wealth of ideas as we got this project going.  Compromise was the name of the game as we decided everything, including what to name the characters.  Individual egos were set aside and majority rule almost always applied.  That’s what led to us creating the name HiveMind.  We are all worker bees serving the collective.  It can be exhilarating and at the same time frustrating.  I for one, argued strenuously that Jeremy be named Biff.  You can see that I lost.  Ultimately that was okay, though, because the group’s voice was heard.  Plus I got to reference him once having the nickname of Biff in my story.  (Just in case you thought writers ever let anything go easily!)

Deciding who would write what stories was actually one of the simpler tasks as I recall.  I have a tendency to write very dark fiction so when it was clear that story number three needed to be something a bit creepy I was happy to hop up and down in my chair and say, “Me, me, me!”  Of course, I had to type that a few seconds later since none of my colleagues could see or hear me.  Which is probably a good thing.

One of the advantages of being a writer in the modern age is near instantaneous communication with co-authors.  This can be especially helpful when you’re scattered all over the world as this group is.  The only real frustration is time zones and figuring out when someone isn’t responding because they’re asleep.  When great ideas are blossoming forth in rapid fire succession and you’re sitting on the edge of your seat to see what others are going to say next at some point you have to be rational and tell yourself that people need to eat, sleep, or take time to work on other projects.  That’s just life in the Hive.

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