Co-Writing a Book with a Stranger by Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount

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[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to welcome authors Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount to the site today! They’re sharing their experience writing their swoony new novel In the Penalty Box. Take it away, guys!]

While all relationships have their moments, my friendship with Lynn really kicked into overdrive when I asked her, “Hey, want to write a book together?” Ha ha! Not your average friendship starter, but for us it worked!

Lynn and I met through our amazing agent, Nicole Resciniti. We talked online a bit and swapped manuscripts for some critique partner feedback. After reading her book, I couldn’t help but think, “Holy crap! She sounds just like me!” For real, when I was reading her book, it felt like I was reading something I’d written. Our writing “voices” are so similar, it’s uncanny! That’s when I asked her if she wanted to write a book together! Thank goodness she agreed and that’s how In the Penalty Box was born. 

We talked on the phone a lot, figuring out the synopsis, crafting the world of Woodhaven, and of course, creating Brodie, Willow, and our cast of characters. Lynn and I decided that she could write Brodie’s chapters (a.k.a. the male point of view) and I’d write Willow’s chapters (a.k.a. the female point of view).

Next, we created a chapter outline. We made sure to include the important story “beats” into the outline, like, the inciting incident, the climax, etc. Then, usually on the phone, we’d write a few sentences for each chapter. A brief overview of what the characters were doing in that chapter and any important big moments, like the first kiss, etc. Our outlines are never set in stone and we have definitely “gone with the flow,” while writing and revised the outline afterward. But, it’s a great resource to have in your back pocket and it usually keeps us from writing ourselves into a corner. 

The other resource that Lynn created and is priceless in the writing process is a Google Excel sheet with all of our characters, world details, etc. We add things like our character’s descriptions, favorite sayings, their signature smell, and even links to actors/actresses or just people on Pinterest that we envision them looking like as we write them. This is such an incredible resource, since we can pull it up at any time and reference it while writing. It’s especially helpful when writing multiple books in multiple worlds at the same time! 

The writing process mainly took place on Google Docs. It allowed us to both write, edit, and read our manuscript at the same time. We wrote the first draft in a few months and then dove right into edits. With some help from our agents and more brainstorming, we fine-tuned our manuscript and went out on submission. 

Lynn and I were thrilled when the incredible Stacy Abrams from Entangled snapped up In the Penalty Box! Of course, that meant more edits were to come! LOL! 

Lynn and I chatted with Stacy on the phone and over email a few times before diving into the manuscript again. As we edit, we use track changes. This allows us to make changes that the other person can either accept or reject. Since Lynn handle’s Brodie’s point of view, she primarily writes all of his dialogue. If I make a change to that dialogue, track changes allows Lynn to see my suggested edit and either accept it or modify it so it best matches Brodie. The same goes for Lynn’s edits in Willow’s chapter. 

After we tackled our edit letter from Stacy, came a second and third pass. Each time we went through the manuscript, it improved! By the time we got to copy edits, In the Penalty Box was nearly ready for publishing! 

After we accepted the copy edits, we gave our book a final readthrough and with the help of some amazing proofreading friends, In the Penalty Box was ready to go to print! 

Since that fateful day in 2018, when I asked Lynn if she wanted to write a book with me, we’ve written the standalone sequel to In the Penalty Box and four of the twelve Twin River High books! Woo hoo! 

Honestly, co-writing with Lynn is one of the best things that has ever happened to me! She’s no longer the stranger that I asked to write a book with over two years ago, she’s one of my best friends! We talk about any and everything. I feel so very lucky that Lynn and I met. We click on so many levels! 

Lynn and I have started to put together a workshop for co-writers and/or anyone interested in increasing their writing speed with a solid outline that hits the beats most agents and editors are looking for when they select a manuscript for representation or publication. Be sure to stay tuned to our social media (@KellyAnneBlount and @LynnRushWrites) for more details on that as well as book news! 

Thank you so much to Samantha at Frolic for championing In the Penalty Box and for inviting us to share this piece here! We’ve included the blurb, the stunning cover, and more at the bottom of this post. We hope you check it out and fall in love with Brodie and Willow! 

Before we sign off, drop a comment below if you’re interested in co-writing a book one day and let us know who would be your dream co-author! 

Sincerely,

Kelly Anne Blount and Lynn Rush xoxo 

About the Authors:

Kelly Anne Blount is a USA Today bestselling author who loves writing addictive young adult novels. Her YA psychological thriller, Captured (19 million reads on Wattpad), has been optioned and is being produced by Sony Pictures Television and Komixx Entertainment (The Kissing Booth).

In addition to writing addictive YA stories, she contributes text style stories to Hooked, Chapters, and Tap, where her stories have been “tapped” over 50 million times. She’s also a writer and reviewer for SpoilerTV. When she’s not writing, Kelly loves spending time with her sweet husband and their adorable little girl, cuddling with their fur babies, hanging with her friends, and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Find Kelly on social media @KellyAnneBlount and be sure to sign up to her newsletter (https://bit.ly/KellyAnneBlountNewsletter) for exclusive content, giveaways, and more! 

Website: https://www.kellyanneblount.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KellyAnneBlount 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KellyAnneBlount 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kellyanneblount/ 

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Lynn Rush, is a full-time writer, wife, and trail runner, living in the Sonoran Desert, despite her fear of rattlesnakes. Known as #TheRunningWriter, she can’t resist posting epic sunrise pictures while running in the desert with her trail sisters, even if she has to occasionally hop over a scorpion. When she’s not running, writing, or reading, she and her Ironman husband are watching movies that fuel her undying love of superheroes, vampires, and all things Supernatural. Find her on social media: @LynnRushWrites Sign-up for her newsletter: http://bit.ly/LRNewsletter 

Website: https://www.LynnRush.com 

Instagram: https://instagram.com/lynnrushwrites 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynnRushWrites

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LynnRushWrites

In the Penalty Box by Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount, out now!

Willow

Figure skating was supposed to be my whole world. But one unlucky injury and now I’m down…but I’m definitely not out. I just need to rehab—a boatload of rehab—and who’d have thought I could do it on the boys’ hockey team?

Of course, the infuriatingly hot captain of the team seems to think I’m nothing but sequins and twirls. What’s a girl to do but put him in his place? Game on.

Brodie

Hockey is my whole world. I’ve worked my tail off getting my team in a position to win the championships—hopefully in front of major college scouts, too—so what’s a guy to do when a figure skater ends up as our new goalie?

Of course, the distractingly sexy skater thinks I’m nothing but a testosterone-laced competitive streak. And surely she’s only biding her time to heal, then she’s gone. Game over.

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