Let me start off by saying that I hate group projects. Always have. There’s just something painful about having to rely on another person for your grade when you can’t do anything to move that person along. Let me also say that I love working with the right people in an actual team; just that when you’re working with people you’ve been assigned to or you choose because you’re friends, you may not get the best results. Working with like-minded professionals = good; working with the girl next to you because you’re hoping that somehow everyone else will cancel on the group meeting except for the cute girl you want to ask out = bad…at least the way I did it (I never got the girl).
Working in retail is really a crapshoot. Maybe you’ll be working with like-minded professionals, and maybe you’ll be working with people fresh off the street who like to work because it means they won’t be rained on tonight. I wish…I
wish…I were kidding. I got transferred a lot, which tends to happen when you tell your boss things like, “I don’t want to join the stock purchase program because I like having my money in my pocket instead of in the company’s”, but I digress. During one of my transfers, I happened to step into the best working environment I ever had at Walgreens. Someone set up my dream team. Everyone there was smart, worked hard, and understood the value of true teamwork. I got comfortable, and as I tend to do when I get comfortable, I started talking to people. One of the EXA’s (level above me in management) seemed like a pretty cool guy who knew his way around sci-fi and fantasy, so I started bouncing ideas off him. Nothing serious at first, just stuff to pass the time with while stocking cereal and processed ham. As the days moved on, though, I found myself pondering the idea of my Shamans and their outfits. With no idea at the time as to what I was doing, I asked the guy what he thought of the idea. I don’t remember what he said exactly, but what I do remember is that the day flew, work was done, and I was pissed that I couldn’t stay and hammer out the idea some more. The manager turned into my coauthor Kevin. The idea turned into Blood Ties. I’d say that in the end Walgreens was pretty good to me that day.
It wasn’t as simple as that, of course. We bounced ideas off each other for close to a week before I asked if he was interested in helping with a storyline. I had previously written another book (which isn’t ready to publish yet) and didn’t want this to be a carbon copy of it, so having additional input was helpful. His ideas were so fun that eventually I asked if he’d be interested in working on it together. My recollection is that he thought about it for a day or so then came back with yes. I could be wrong, but it isn’t vital. The point is, we started working together.
Six years later we had a book.
Tomorrow for Part Three, I’ll talk about the actual process of hashing out a storyline.