How To Write The Future

85. Collaborative Writing, Story Success Clinic

February 19, 2024 BETH BARANY Season 1 Episode 85
How To Write The Future
85. Collaborative Writing, Story Success Clinic
Show Notes Transcript

“So conflict is when it's between two very difficult choices that look bad, that feel bad, that are bad, that imply emotional or psychological pain, or of course, physical pain or death. Or conflict can also be between two very good things, but you just can't have one or the other.”
— BETH BARANY


In the latest How To Write the Future episode, host Beth Barany does a Story Success Clinic session with Wattpad and science fiction writer, Annika K.E. Morgan. Together they discuss writing conflict into scenes and the benefits of collaborative writing. Beth also shares how you can sign up to have your very own Story Success clinic session.


ABOUT THE HOW TO WRITE THE FUTURE PODCAST

The How To Write The Future podcast is for science fiction and fantasy writers who want to write positive futures and successfully bring those stories out into the marketplace. Hosted by Beth Barany, science fiction novelist and creativity coach for writers. We cover tips for fiction writers and get curious about the future of humanity.


ABOUT BETH BARANY

Beth Barany, an award-winning fantasy and science fiction novelist, teaches novelists how to write, edit, and publish their books as a coach, teacher, consultant, and developmental editor.

RESOURCES

Free World Building Workbook for Fiction Writers: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/world-building-resources/

Sign up for the 30-minute Story Success Clinic with Beth Barany: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/story-success-clinic/

Get support for your fiction writing by a novelist and writing teacher and coach. Schedule an exploratory call here and see if Beth can support you today: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/discovery-call/



  • SHOW PRODUCTION BY Beth Barany
  • SHOW NOTES by Kerry-Ann McDade

c. 2023 BETH BARANY

https://bethbarany.com/

--
CONNECT
Contact Beth: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/podcast/#tve-jump-185b4422580
Email: beth@bethbarany.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bethbarany/

CREDITS
EDITED WITH DESCRIPT: https://get.descript.com/0clwwvlf6e3j
MUSIC: Uppbeat.io
DISTRIBUTED BY BUZZSPROUT: https://www.buzzsprout.com/?referrer_id=1994465

BETH BARANY:

Hey, everyone. Welcome to How to Write the Future podcast. I'm your host, Beth Barany, an award winning novelist, science fiction and fantasy novelist, and a writing teacher and creativity coach. This podcast is for people who want to create stories to envision what could be possible, because when we envision what is possible through our fiction, we actually help people create that in their lives, emotionally, and also psychologically. Fiction is so powerful. So, every once in a while, I do these Story Success Clinics. Just a quick note-- this Story Success Clinic, is audio only. So for those of you listening on YouTube, just want to let you know. There is no visual for the episode today because the author asked to remain off-camera. So, that's what we're doing. Enjoy. Today I have a science fiction/ fantasy author with me here, Annika, and I'm going to introduce you, Annika, and then, we'll dive in. So, Annika, welcome.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Thank you.

BETH BARANY:

All right, here isAnnikaka K. E. Morgan. Deep in the sunny Caribbean tourist destination, Jamaica, Annika K. E. Morgan pursues her childhood dream of becoming a published author. With the support of a loving husband and daughter, a couple of cats, and a yard full of dogs, she spends her free time focused on completing Her unfinished science fiction and fantasy. You are an active writer on Wattpad. Is that right?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Yes. That's correct.

BETH BARANY:

Great.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Let me qualify that. I'm supposed to be an active writer on Wattpad, but I'm not on my own profile. I am active.In a collaborative profile on Wattpad

BETH BARANY:

Yeah. Very interesting. So one of the things you let me know ahead of time is that you're working on a really big collaborative project. so I thought we would start off so people can understand because we're always curious. I know as a writer, I'm always curious about other writers creative processes. So, one of the questions I ask when people sign up for the Story Success Clinic is what's working well? What's already successful for you? And can you share us a few things? What is already working well for you as a writer?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

As a writer. Well, one thing that I've noticed for me, I enjoy the collaborative process. I really do. I was introduced to it through a reader of my story, that I want to talk about trilogy, my sci-fi trilogy, who helped me to get through a section that I had no plans for. So, he helped me create scenes and I edited and rewrote them and I was able to get through that section and I found that I really enjoy that. Now I'm also collaborating on a joint story on my collaborative account. And that is going through second book. The second book is almost finished. We only have a few chapters left. And I really enjoy that.

BETH BARANY:

That's so great. Well, I just want to say, to be able to collaborate so closely is a certain kind of writer, a certain kind of personality, when that is a process that really works for you. I really admire that. It's not something that I'm able to do like that.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Yeah, and I find it may have something to do with, I'm a details person. My collaborator a tree, a forest person. So it really syncs very well. He sees the big picture, I don't.

BETH BARANY:

Ah, okay. Got it. Yes.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

I see the details. And I think that has a lot to do with why we work so well together, and we've never met. We've never spoken. We met via Wattpad, Everything has been, via messaging and writing the docs and so on, but we've never met. So, it has been, yeah, one of the most enjoyable processes I've been through for the past few years. Yeah.

BETH BARANY:

That's so great. Oh, wonderful. So you're writing a science fiction trilogy, collaboratively, and when I asked what were some of your challenges, there's a few things that you mentioned, one I noticed is about conflict. And do I got that right, bring making sure every scene has conflict?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Yeah, a correction. The Science Fiction trilogy is my story.

BETH BARANY:

Okay. Thank you for that clarification. so today we're going to talk about your story, not the collaborative story. Okay, good. Exactly. Yeah. Yes. And so, yeah, you mentioned here in the notes that you keep forgetting to ramp up the tension or the angst and that you realize you need to throw in more obstacles.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

I find I prefer to get through the conflict. I'm not a complex person. I'm realizing that where I'm at to keep the interest, I need to add the conflict. And i just realized I have to remind myself of that because I'm just trying to complete an issue in the scene, wrap it up, get back to Earth because right now we're on the moon, and then get to the final scene, basically, so I'm just trying to get to the end, Yeah, I can't just go there. I have things happening on the way, you know?

BETH BARANY:

Yeah.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Yeah, I have to remind myself of that, at this stage, there is some conflict between my main character and his love interest, who is from another Earth, because she has been appointed queen, so protocol is that she cannot be involved in a intimate relationship. And they are already approaching that. Well, they have approached that situation. And trying to reconcile that, trying to find a way to continue with their relationship. They are already soulmates, so it's not like they can just go separate ways. He's already made a promise that he's not going to abandon her, but he doesn't know why he says he doesn't want to abandon her again, which is alluding to a previous life, previous lives. he could allude to that his father abandoned his family too. So there's something in him that's driving him as well.

BETH BARANY:

Sorry to interrupt you, but just to understand the craft aspect is the scene written from his perspective, not her perspective?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

That scene, his scenes are written from his perspective. Yes, it depends on which scenes he is in. Any scene that he is in, usually, it's from his perspective, yeah.

BETH BARANY:

Okay, but she is in the scene too, the queen?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Yeah, she's in the scene as well.

BETH BARANY:

so what is the conflict? The conflict in the moment is technically they're not supposed to be together because she's the queen and he's just an ordinary person. So, is there any stakes? Meaning, if they get discovered together, what might happen?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

They're already been discovered together and were interrupted. So Danny is the main character, Mikmi is the queen, and the guide is Selina, Daniel approaches Selena, the guide with the intent of asking for permission to propose to Mikmi. that is when Selena tells him, that's not allowed. And if they pursue their relationship, then they might have to intervene, equivalent to the intervention, a mind force intervention to stop their feelings. And he's really angry about that implication that yeah, threat, call it threat, that might be done to him and her as well, if it has to be done to keep them apart. But he has already been appointed the post of shield to the queen. So it's not like they're going to be apart, it's just that they cannot be together.

BETH BARANY:

Got it. So if he is caught with her again, he could lose his memories about her or his feelings. So he's no longer, yeah, in love with her and she also would lose her feelings for him, that she is no longer in love with him. So those are the stakes. They could forget about their love.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

That's pretty good.

BETH BARANY:

And so what does Danny think and feel about that? is he willing to risk that to be with her?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

He not accept that. That's not something he's willing to accept.

BETH BARANY:

Well, accept which part? Because the other people...

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

to lose his feelings for her. a memory wipe of their feelings or something like that. He doesn't accept that at all. No way, he

BETH BARANY:

says. Good. Yes. And so he's willing to risk that though, because if they're caught again, that could happen. Or that will happen, right? He's been told, you will receive the memory wipe. You will forget about your love. And he says, I don't care. I want to be with her anyway. Right?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

It hasn't been said in a way that it's fixed in stone because the guide is also in service of the Queen. And I don't think she can convince Mikmi to do that. But then again, Danny isn't sure how much Mikmi will stick to the rules. She has recently recovered her memory. She had amnesia before. So they had already developed a relationship. So she's recovered her memory, She accepted to be appointed queen because their planet they believe their queen is dead, the previous one. She was supposed to replace her anyway, But they believe they're dead From a disaster. It's a long complex story.

BETH BARANY:

Okay.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Yeah, so, she had taken on the role; she would take on that assignment. She is now Queen, but she is not on her planet. She's on our planet, She's on our Earth.

BETH BARANY:

Okay.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Our Earth's moon at the moment on assignment, as it were. And when they go back, she's supposed to pick up her role as Queen there, but she's been assigned the title already.

BETH BARANY:

There's a lot of things, and so for a scene to work, we need conflict. There absolutely has to be conflict. But the conflict can be internal. It doesn't have to be external. So if Danny is your point of view character, and he wonders whether or not the Queen, Mikmi, would risk her own memories for the relationship. So for there to be conflict, you can ask yourself: what is at stake? If we do this thing, and we might lose our memory about how we love each other, that's high stakes. If we're not together as a couple, then we are in pain because right, we're, we're suffering because we're not together. So conflict is when it's between two very difficult choices that look bad, that feel bad, that are bad, that imply emotional or psychological pain or of course, physical pain or death. Or conflict can also be between two very good things, but you just can't have one or the other. But in this scene that you're talking about, in this moment in their life, they're between either not getting to be a couple, even though in their hearts they are one, or being a couple and then perhaps losing it, losing the memory of their love, which would be maybe worse. There's always a fate worse than death, which is very intense when you lose something that you value, or if you lose a loved one. That's the one you value. They call it a fate worse than death and that kind of conflict can be the pinnacle conflict of your story. It can be the worst thing that could happen would be if these two lovers forgot about each other, right? The reader would go, right? It would break everyone's heart.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Yeah.

BETH BARANY:

If you can play that up and have Danny really think about that and have real consequences. what would he do? What would he say? What decision would he make? When he realizes this, he has to decide and do something. What can he do Is he going to risk everything and to be together? Or is he going to say, I would rather you remember me and love me, even if we cannot be together, even though it pains me?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

He's more likely to go with the second option. At the moment, they haven't had their discussion yet. That is what I'm prepping for. So far, his thought process has been: no way he's agreeing. And he's expecting that she would not agree as well. We don't know yet. In his mind, he would stay by her side, and if he can manage to keep the distance because he has the post of her Shield.

BETH BARANY:

Right. Right. So that's a very difficult decision to make, but that would also show character. You asked me what might be unique about him? And what might be unique about him is this strength of character. So that he would in a sense sacrifice being together, so the love that exists between them can live in their memories. And someone like that it's a selfless thing and it makes somebody extraordinary when they are willing to set aside their own happiness for another person's happiness. Many people see that as extraordinary. Because most people just operate. Yeah, on their own, like, oh, I just want to be happy. I don't care what others think. But when we care what others think.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

I don't remember who, or where the quote came from. It was some literary. It's better to have lived and loved than to never have loved at all. Something like that. Loved and lost than never having loved at all.

BETH BARANY:

Yes. Yes. And I think this is the theme that you are playing with and it's very powerful, right? It has this millennia resonance. It might've even been Shakespeare who said that because it's such a powerful saying. It feels like you're working with this very powerful theme. Do you think so?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Yeah. Yeah.

BETH BARANY:

And the fact that it's still a dilemma, like you as the author are trying to figure it out, also shows me that it's a deep theme that doesn't have an easy answer, which is really wonderful. We don't want the biggest conflict in our story to be an easy, to have an easy answer. That's why it is the biggest emotional conflict of your story.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Yeah, yeah.

BETH BARANY:

Yeah. Yeah. Good. So to recap it sounds like you're the kind of writer who really thrives on collaboration, which was a bit of a surprise for you. From the notes you shared with me and everything, it's like, and even getting ready for today's, Story Success Clinic, you were very collaborative with me. You're sharing things with me. You're working it out, right? You told me What your conflict was or your questions were like last week, and then you wrote me today. Oh, no, things have changed. I worked through this. Now I have this, which tells me you're somebody who works really well in collaboration. So from a coaching perspective, I would say, well, from whatever you can do to continue collaborative partnerships in all the phases of your writing will probably really help you feel supported and help you move forward as you continue. I think that would really help you. And it sounds like you have a lot of resources here around collaboration. Is that right?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Yeah, the person I collaborate with on the other story, sometimes I bounce ideas off of him, but he's the kind of person is that: it's your story, right? I'll throw out some suggestions, but it's your story.

BETH BARANY:

Right. Yeah.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

So he doesn't want to tell me what I should be doing.

BETH BARANY:

Right. is that hard or easy for you? do you wish someone could help you make those decisions?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Sometimes I do, yes. Sometimes I don't. I just to bounce off and stir up the juices, something stirs up from the bottom that I haven't thought of, kind of thing.

BETH BARANY:

You mentioned also that you have critique partners that you work with.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Yes. I just started back up in two different clubs in WattPad. I'm getting a critique partners. I'm critiquing their work and they're critiquing mine. I've had previously another partner who started from the beginning and has reached into part three, but then she has taken a hiatus from the club and therefore I haven't been able to get the rest of the story critiqued, which is why I put my new partners in the kind of awkward position of starting at part three, because I don't want them to end before I've dealt with that section, and their stories aren't as long as mine yet. It's usually chapter by chapter exchange. So, yeah, and that is helpful, too. I'm getting some good feedback.

BETH BARANY:

Good. Good.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

But they haven't reached the point of where I'm at currently, because I'm quite far into-- I'm almost at 400, 000 words actually.

BETH BARANY:

Oh my goodness, that's like three, that's four books, or more. In terms of next steps for you as we start to wrap this up-- Well, first, let me back up. Do you feel like the questions that you brought here today, do you feel like you work through them a little bit?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

A little more focus Some elements of focus that I can address during their discussion and internal musings of Danny. So that's helpful

BETH BARANY:

Okay. Yeah. Did we answer the question also about what might make Danny unique? He's not just an ordinary person. He's actually quite extraordinary.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Yeah, that, I haven't thought of strength of character. That's a useful one.

BETH BARANY:

Yeah.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

There might be something more too as well, because the way the question was raised in reference to the beginning of the story, I believe. And my only answer for that was that they were soulmates, but they were living on two different planets. So why was he picked? Because he was picked to find her when she crash landed on this earth.

BETH BARANY:

So does he have a skill set, a capability, a natural ability, something he was born with? What made him the person for the job?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

That I can't really answer, except that he's the soulmate. They would not have met if she had not come to this earth by accident.

BETH BARANY:

And so for story building purposes, for world building purposes, you could come up with a reason that exists inside of the culture how that person knew, or it could be that that person has a skill, the guide has a skill in finding people who are connected to other people. Maybe it's a psychic ability, or maybe, this person was born with that, or maybe they were trained. it's magic, maybe it's science. So you can decide.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Okay. Yeah, she is a more complex person than that. She's not really human. She's taken on human form, but she's not human. Her source is more like an energy being that floats around in the atmosphere. That's her original ancestry, you can call it, but she's taken on human form to serve the queen. so she served the queen in appointing the new queen. And now she's serving Mikmi, the new queen.

BETH BARANY:

And maybe for her, it's natural, like you and I, we can see the color red, but maybe she can see energetic lines of connection between people, because that's natural to her. Well, Annika, we've come to the close of today's Story Success clinic, and if you have any pieces of advice that you would like to give to writers who are starting out or who maybe want to write collaboratively or even write on Wattpad like you do, what are one or two things that you would encourage other authors about?

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Well, Wattpad has a lot of different communities here. Some authors come there and say, there are too many young people you know, teenagers writing. there are serious writers there. You can find good clubs there with getting good feedback. I can say, without any hesitation, that my story, and I started my story when I was 13 years old, 1978, that's where I got my first idea. Fruits has been around for a long time, right? But this version, I started in 2016. It would not have reached to where it is now, without the feedback that I got through Wattpad. The community, the readers, I mean, Getting assistance from readers that really have some good feedback. Or you join a book club. within Wattpad and find a good critique partner. I mean, you can't imagine where that can take you.

BETH BARANY:

That's so wonderful.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

You can consult and you get good feedback and you don't have to pay them. You exchange, So, you can even find editors there. A lot of authors on Wattpad have published after developing this story on Wattpad.

BETH BARANY:

That's great. It's a collaborative platform, it sounds like, with readers, with other writers, and it sounds like people really enjoy that process. It's a great place to go if that's something that attracts you. That's great. Oh, wonderful. Well, Annika, I wish you the best of luck on your amazing epic and thank you so much for being a guest today on the Story Success Clinic. And yeah, thank you so much.

ANNIKA K.E. MORGAN:

Thank you for having me. Thanks.

BETH BARANY:

So that's it for this week. Thanks for listening. If you would like to sign up for a Story Success Clinic, just head on over to How to Write The Future dot com and follow the prompts. And sign up for a conversation with me and I look forward to having you. And please like subscribe, follow, leave a review, which helps people find us. And thank you so much for listening, and thank you so much for working on your stories and putting your stories out into the world. Write long and prosper.