How do two writers tackle the job of writing a book together? We’re happy to tell you that it can be done without much fighting and no biting!
Larry and I are married and have been together for 30 years, both writing for over 40 years. We have written well over 100 books, but A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans is our first book written together. We’ve talked about doing so, and we’ve often read each other’s manuscripts and given advice. But this book idea caught our joint fancies, so we ran with it. It’s been a happy adventure creating this magical tale of an elderly dragon and her 10-year-old human pet in contemporary San Francisco. It was fun to imagine what Miss Drake and Winnie would be like and do, and we found ourselves enjoying being “partners in whimsy.”
Now we are very different writers. Larry writes novels; I write poetry and non-fiction picture books. He is the long-distance runner; I am the sprinter. He is the lark up early and writing during the day. I am the owl, rising later and working from sunset to the wee hours of the morning. We have separate writing spots in the house, and we get together at mealtimes to discuss what we’re doing, work on plot points, and discuss problems.
We’re written two books in the series so far, and the way it has worked is this. Larry writes the opening, we work on the overall plot, he writes some chapters, and I write others. We share what we’ve done and rewrite and edit all the parts till we are happy. Larry, as a novelist, has a much better understanding of plotting and dramatic arches, etc. As a poet, I work on images and details and the emotional thrust of the book. So we each bring the elements we know best to the story.
We both want to write stories with warm and enchanting characters that children will enjoy reading. It’s been a special treat to work with Miss Drake and Winnie—and with each other. Now we’re looking forward to seeing what we—and they—will do next.
Larry and Joanne
A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans
by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder
Library Binding: 978-0-385-39229-7