I am Dennis and I am a coauthor.  Is coauthoring a real thing?  Yes indeed, H.C and I are coauthors of the book Over the Dragonwall.  Having a limited amount of hours in the week, we try to use our time effectively.  For us, we work full-time in non-writing jobs, and write on the weekends.  H.C. works as an electrical technician, and I work as registered nurse.

I will share some of the ideas that work for us, and will do my best to convey what we do and how we do it.   What would be the benefit of having a coauthor? Good question! Coauthoring is not for everyone.  It does have some advantages that we would like to share.  By having a coauthor, ideally saves time by two people working on the same book and hopefully completing the project in half the time.

First how do you find a coauthor?  Here are a few questions you have to address for a likely candidate: Can we work together? Do you have complementary writing styles? The questions can be endless. In this blog, I will give you an idea how it developed for us to become coauthors.

After character generation and a shared view on how the story will go, there are time constraints. How much time are you and your coauthor are willing to invest in a book?  As a trial run, potential coauthors might decide to test their compatibility, by collaborating on a short story. Writing is a true test to see if you can collaborate or kill each other by the end of the story.  Ha!

Who does coauthoring?

Besides H.C and I, a few Authors that use coauthors come to mind such as: James Patterson, David Eddings, and Tom Clancy. If you can find someone you can work well together, and that is a great start.  A little history is good too, but not necessary.

Since our first book was released, there have been three people who said they could pick out our unique voices in the writing.  The majority says, “You guys have the co-writing down!”    Granted, the three people that could pick out our voices had written short stories with each of us, and the other was HP, Dennis’s wife.

Last week during a book signing, a very pleasant woman asked, “Isn’t it hard to coauthor?  I mean, how do you break up the writing?”

H.C. popped off with, “Dennis holds the paper, I hold the pen and we just scribble.”

I jumped in with, “H.C. does all the writing, and I just put my name on the book.”

Of course we thought we were funny, but she just looked at us blankly.

H.C. went on to explain.  For us co-authoring replaces what other writers use editors, and writing groups for their ideas.  Dennis and I are each other’s sounding boards and provide the “polish” to the other’s idea.  Best of all we have a lot of fun doing it!

Dennis Montoya

I would like to say that I was outgoing and popular in school, but I wasn’t.  To be honest, I was a tall, lanky and horribly shy in high school.  Thank goodness I was less shy in small groups.  I had a few friends, and they introduced me to a new game craze called Role-playing games namely Advanced Dungeon and Dragons AD&D.   I loved the game!

We had a tight knit group of friends and would game on the weekends.  Together, we would battle monsters to save the town, save the princess, or take a trip to see if dragons really exist.  Gaming was so much fun!

H.C Strom

H.C. says: Among our group of friends, we had a few advance readers who introduced us into the Fantasy genre.   Dennis and myself played RPGs and read all things fantasy.   I read comic books, novels or watched movies.  The ones that stand out most often was the comic The Savage Sword of Conan, and for books it was Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan, Tolkien’s The Hobbit and later Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s first Rule.  I love that book!

When we are writing, each of us has writing strengths that we expand on.  Together we discuss the storylines, characters, and monsters.  Through our chats, we will polish and expand ideas and the story will morph into something better than the first outline.

Are you’re wondering if we still game?  Yes we do!

We play a version of AD&D called Pathfinder.  Pathfinder really is a great game, and useful tool for our writing.  The Pathfinder character generation helps us refine our characters by adding details and serves as a primer for our brainstorming sessions.

An average game day will go something like this.  H.C will put out a mass text message for the date and time, and here come the guys.  We pile in to H.C house like a bunch of rats taking over a ship.  We catch up what is going on in their life, before getting down to serious business of gaming!

For writing, H.C. and I get together every Tuesday and work on the book. We start with the major dilemmas, and then fill in chapters to get the characters involved, what we call making the “bones” of the story.  We brainstorm, and come up with solutions that fit.   The brainstorming is a unique and wonderful way for our imagination to run wild, and probably the best part of working with a coauthor.  The writing loses that feeling of work and closely resembles goofing off!

Once we have a rough idea where the book is going, then we go back and discuss how to make a scene more interesting for the reader. We look and discuss any idea that crosses our imaginations in a brainstorming session.

We see if an idea fits somewhere in the story.  If the Idea fits, we put it in the appropriate chapter, if it doesn’t, then it goes to the possibility file to use in a different story.  Important part, we use a recorder to capture our brainstorm session, and then later one of us will transcribe it.  The recorder is useful to capture all of the brainstorming banter without stopping to take notes, which can slow you down or disrupt the train of thought.

Once the “bones” are in order, we start “fleshing” in the chapters meaning that we add details, clarify ideas.  Soon we have a working draft, then the second we look at grammar, punctuation and look for repeating words.   I recall one chapter I must have used sharp rocks as a description twelve times.

Oh our genre. Why did we pick fantasy?  When we first started gaming there was a sense of magic and wonder instilled in the game.  There were monsters and heroes that save the day.  We are hoping to capture and some of the magic and heroism in our books, and share the adventures.

So there you have it, coauthoring in a nutshell.  We hope you can use some of our experience to gage if coauthoring is for you!  Our main goal is to put out a good story, something memorable with loveable characters and heroic feats while facing dangerous creatures.  We hope that you will laugh a little and have a great time living the adventure.


Thanks for everything

H.C. and Dennis