Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Guest Essay: jandco and withthevampsofcourse....need I say more?

We would like to start off by saying that this is not an article on “How to Collaborate”. Because we realize we have a unique thing going here. People often ask “how do you guys do it?” And well. We don’t have a solid answer. The following are jandco and withthevampsofcourse’s thoughts on collaborating as opposed to a primer on the subject. Because we don’t want you to try this and then try to cut us if it doesn’t work for you.

withthevampsofcourse:

How does one find their soulmate? ‘Cuz I found mine.

I remember it like it was yesterday…

I had found Retrograde through the twilightmoms. I clicked, I read. I loved. Read Safekeeper. Put jandco on alert.

And a month later… Cullen’s Island started posting.

I had already been effin’ around on twilighted for a while and made friends, so says I, Hmm. Let’s get jandco to come play with us.

The beginning of something great.

We posted, we PM’d. We reviewed each other’s shit.

Somewhere along the way… jandco’s opinion started to mean the world to me. Like… I’d send her stuff and I’d be on tenterhooks, waiting for her take on it. Always scared that she’d cut me loose if I went too far in my candor. This was, of course, before we realized that we are the same person on two different coasts. It still makes me laugh when the occasional person will say, “Wait. You two didn’t know each other before you started writing together?”

Nope. Never. We’ve never met in person.

My husband just put it this way:

She’s the all-white version of me. I’m the half-asian version of her.

jandco:

I fell in love with Twilight.

Then fanfiction.

Then wtvoc.

By the time I ended Retrograde, I was in love with the fandom—but completely alone in it…(bear with me, I’m an angst writer).

I decided to try cliché comedy, so I came up with Cullen’s Island.

Ditching the weird angst was the best decision I ever made.

The night chapter six of Cullen’s Island posted, I got a PM inviting me to Twilighted.

Twilighted?

What the Hale is a Twilighted?

Didn’t matter.

The first post I saw consisted of banana hammocks and an inquiry as to whether I was a chick or a gay man.

The name of said poster?

withthevampsofcourse.

The next day I tried to post a fic on Twilighted and, well, I’m technologically disabled…so I pm’ed wtvoc for help.

She responded.

I didn’t understand.

She responded.

I didn’t understand.

I obsessively messaged her and she obsessively answered back.

To this day I don’t know how to post on Twilighted—but that’s okay because wtvoc has my password and does it for me.

And my gmail.

And my Yahoo. (wtvoc says: I’ll post on yer yahoo any day. heh)

And this thing snowballed from Twilight chatting to everything chatting.

She changed her phone plan for me.

I cried when her baby was in the hospital.

We watched friendships wane and collapse over the course of other collaborations.

She defends my fics and shields me from insults.

I get defensive and bitchlike when people assume they know the person behind the legendary Twilighted posting…

Because they don’t.

I know her children’s eating habits and I text her husband more than I do my own—

We don’t collaborate online—we just collaborate.

The point is, we’re qualified to write this article on collaborations—it’s just how we do.

Chat with wtvoc and jandco:

w: aww

i love it.

j: anything you want changed?

is it too lesbian esque?

w: not lesbian enough, really

j: i didn't think so, either

sigh

p.s. and sometimes we make out.

w: perfect.

j: okay, so now whats next??

w: now we talk about it

ready?

j: no

wait

what are we talking about??

w: collab

how do we do this?

j: scotch?

w: how did scotch come about?

j: i dunno

w: 'cuz i'm pretty sure i just wrote something and sent it to you one day

and was like

LET'S DO THIS

and you were all

j: i say we start with gay ken and go with it

w: FACK YES

gay ken and his earring

oh, ken

j: bwhahhahahhahahahahaha

oh, ken. why ya gotta be gay?

okay, scotch.

Go

w: fuck, lady

i just spit ham and potato on my keyboard

j: ham and potato

w: 'cuz i'd rather eat dinner with jandco

than my own children

j: well, yes.

we wouldn't have to neglect

if i lived in cali

w: this is true

j: we'd all eat together

w: so scotch

is our baby

j: tis

w: saturday school... whole 'nother ball 'o' wax

j: and should we address saturday school?

ahh

i was gonna say

w: SEE?

we have the same thoughts

j: sat.school is the baby we gave up at birth

w: that's how we work

oh, SS

a prime example of collaborations

because coordinating

is a motherbitch.

j: oh, ss, we love you, but we couldn't keep you.

we were young

not ready

w: and under the influence

j: we needed help

w: of rob

j: BWHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHA

it happens

w: oh, rob

j: rob.

w: one of the pieces of meat

in the sammich

that is keeps jandco and wtvoc together.

j: just one.

the big one

w: the biggest piece of meat, though

bwahahahahhaa

j: teehee

okay

ollaborations

well

thing is

w: keep going

j: wait.

w: i need a diet coke

j: wait

i think we should do rules and scotch talk in the chat

that way its elaborated on

without having to write it

eh?

go--drink coke

imma rant

ahem

w: rant away, love

j: for the love of nikki reed, know who yer collabing with

w: i love you.

j: i love you, dear

now listen as i go off

when one is writing a fic, they become passionate about it

they feel these characters

they know their thoughts

they think

bella would never kiss newton

but

suppose collab partner just....thinks she would?

you have got to be willing to pick yer collabing battles

you can't be consumed with every detail of

"i woulda done it like this"

it simply won't work

and we don't have this issue in scotch

as we think alike

also you gotta know which type of collab you want

improv, in which you bounce it back and forth,

not knowing what your co author is going to do?

or perhaps

one author does edward-bella and another jasper-alice

this is preferable to novice collaborators

if yer not going improv i'd recommend a chapter by chapter outline

at the very least, know the beginning and where you want to end up.

discuss ratings, language, sexin'

ya know, this is overwhelming.

and i don't have to worry about any of it

because when we collab. we write much like i do when i'm on my own.

by the seat of our pretty pants.

and for us, it works.

maybe i aint qualified to write this.

lets talk scotch.

w: bored bored bored

scotch scotch scotch

j: THAT'S IT

thats how it started

w: i think so

j: i laughed for three days

then it occured to me--hey, thats hot.

w: it still makes me laugh

we wanna make shirts

j: fuck me fuck me fuck me

w: with that phrasing on them

wear 'em every day

j: i'm going to

w: the thing about scotch is this

we've known from day one

the outcome

the bet

its results

the rest?

eh

j: eh

w: we just kinda

j: nada

w: write

see that?

those two "ehs"

were simultaneous

last week i was all

dude

we're gonna be those old ladies

who have the same haircut

and sit on our porch

j: bwhahahhahahahahaha

same hair cut

virginia slims

w: drinking lynchburg lemonade from a frozen pitcher

ginny slims

j: vagina slimes

w: watching the next door neighbor

who is 17

and eww

mow our lawn

calling out

j: i can't wait

w: "honey, you look sweaty"

"c'mere, have some iced cold lemonade"

"AND TAKE YER SHIRT OFF"

that'd be me

j: all shaky hands and not ashed smokes

w: hot

j: mmm

w: we ARE grey gardens

j: certainly

w: we finish each other's thoughts

j: we do

w: so my number one piece of collaboration advice is

find your interwebs soulmate

j: and not someone who you think is yer interwebs soulmate

that shit falls apart quick

w: but what my jandco says about plot outlines is true

the thing is

if one of you wants edward to do the threesome

and the other is emphatically against it

and you figure you'll work it out later-

guess what.

j: don't collab

w: you won't.

you won't work it out later.

you'll hit the sixth chapter or so

and be like

j: you'll hate each other and write nasty pm's.

w: uhh why'd you do that?

whereas jandco and i are always like

WHY DO YOU HATE ME?

because it took three minutes to respond

j: c'mere.

w: no, you c'mere

it's not negative 300 where i live

j: fack

i'm all hypothermia

w: and i'm wearing flip flops

j: it ain't right.

w: what ain't right is yer refusal to move in with me

j: i am.

w: okay

j: dude

i just told mr. wtvoc i was coming

w: now i'mma write for reals and you can respond

j: this needs to be said first.

this whole fic has basically centered around

"there. now you can go win your bet."

i'm just now realizing we wrote around that sentence

for months now.

w: yer right

j: hmm



wtvoc:

So that was last night. We had to do a collab for writing about collabbing. Collabing?

The thing is this- we talk every day. We have ever since we “met” back in July when a mouthy new writer had the gall to PM the great jandco, inviting her to come play on a Twilight fanfic website. There was a terrible one week period in which jandco went on vacation and I died a little inside, but we conspired to have her steal Mr. jandco’s iPhone so that we could at least text.

Then Mr. jandco bought jandco her own phone so that we could talk. And we’ve been chatting/texting/phoning each other every day since.

And I really did have to up my cell phone plan because I went over 500 minutes one month. Yes, because we were on the phone that much.

We have way too much in common. I’d be scared and leery of it if I didn’t love it so much.

So when we sit down to write, we just… write. And sometimes we need to talk each other off of ledges.

I honestly believe the secrets to our dynamic are as follows:

~We mutually admire each other’s work. I have no bones to pick with her at all.
I love my own stuff, but I still wonder occasionally if anyone else does. And she’s there to smack me one, tell me it’s wonderful, and to get my ass on posting because hell. She is much better about updating than I am.
~We love the same stuff, but also… we hate the same stuff. Whether it’s sticking our tongues out at Coldplay, obsessing over Rob’s beard, bitching about the exact same themes in fanfic or even our favorite non-Twilight books… jandco and wtvoc are of the same mind. The only thing we disagree on is food, and that’s because she has yet to try my Filipino cooking. And she hates condiments, but I’ll fix that when she moves in with me.
~We are honest. If the writing doesn’t work or it’s weak or it’s too intense or too repetitive, we simply accept that, change it, and move on. Whether it’s our own writing or each other’s, we treat it as ours rather than yours and mine. And I’ll tell you right now… I feel like The Teenage Angst Brigade is as much my baby as it is hers. Yeah, I’ll say it. She was the genius behind it, but I was the cheerleader with a big fucking “Fuckgood” written across the tits of my tight sweater in Varsity Lettering. And Must Have Been Love’s fate is directly related to her thoughts on it.
~We have never once come close to any sort of bitchfest or angsty interwebs drama or chick fight or hell, any sort of argument, really. The closest we came to disagreeing was once back in the Summer of Aught Eight when I had to go on vacation and I wasn’t sure if I could get internet access in the middle of the desert. And it wasn’t even really a disagreement as much as it was jandco using her power over me to get me to stay home. And I didn’t wanna say no to her, but I had to. And it made me fail. Miserably.
~When people think we’re the same person… we laugh. The last Scotch update? A lot of you didn’t realize we both wrote it. We did. She writes Bella, I write Edward. That hasn’t changed. We take it as a sign that we’re headed toward same haircut-dom, and well. That’s not a future I frown at.

jandco:

I think it's important to note that our collaboration didn't start off trying to be a collaboration. wtvoc and I never sat down and said, “We need to write a story—let's brainstorm.”

We had conversations and fun chats about things like dry blowing and Jodi Sweetin and Wu Tang Clan…and these tiny little things were born- like, how of course Jasper would sport a wallet chain and Emmett drives a Rover…then we were writing a story…

The bottom line is- it's for fun.

We started it for fun, we're still doing it for fun, and though I don't ever anticipate it- when it's not fun, we'll move on to something else.

Frankly, our main goal isn't to rack up reviews or make it to ff superstardom—it's to entertain each other…which we do.

Honestly, the best part of writing Scotch isn't writing Scotch. It's the time spent snorting and laughing on chat or on the phone (or both at the same time—yeah, it's happened), planning the story.

So if you're thinking about collaborating, please consider our advice: know your story, know your soul mate, pick your Newton kissing, Bella gets pregnant, Jacob is a jerk, Edward is a virgin, do we use the F-word battles wisely-- and do it for the fun.

wtvoc:

Yeah, for cereals. The fun of it. I mean, we’ve already bandied about like eight different Scotch follow-ups, and we could easily go with any of them. It’ll all depend on what day of the week it is. We’re doing this for fun, for love of the fic, and for love of one another. And I like to think that it shows in the updates.

So, if you really wanna write a collaboration, good luck to ya. There are some really great ones out there, and it is, in fact, possible to do it and do it well. As long as yer not a diva. And as long as you have something to bond over, like being able to rap the drug rundown in Sublime songs.

jandco:

And scotch is pretty much the product of said bonding. I never really thought if it before, but I suppose it’s something tangible, sort of, that cements who we are.

We don't actually see each other.

Ever.

And that hurts, but I guess Scotch is like the hard copy

of

us.

wtvoc:

My lady is fuckin’ poetic.

jandco:

Psssh. I just spit game.

wtvoc:

Spit, swallow. Whatever.

jandco:

I can’t be witty on the spot. Ever.

wtvoc:

Yes, you can. Let’s stop before we just keep babbling and in-joking. This is already long enough.

That’s what she said.

jandco's breakout stories, The Teenage Angst Brigade and Cullen's Island, set the standard in this fandom for ground breaking fic. She is one of the loveliest girls and regrdless of what anyone says, her voice is as musical as Scarlett's.

The collaboration of Scotch, Gin and The New Girl has reached thousands of devoted readers and is quite possibly one of the best examples of successful collaborations and friendships this fandom has to offer. Their great minds came together in this fledgling fandom to create Saturday School, a collaboration of epic proportions that boasts contributions from some of the most notable fic writers in Twilight fandom.

withthevampsofcourse's Must Have Been Love and Welcome Home are treasures of the sexy snark lovers. This sister soldier of Brown may talk dirty and throw down even dirtier, but her class knows no bounds.

These hetero life mates will forever be linked by high quality cigs and a cultish love of all things Rob. They are the movement.

Y'all bettah recognize.


jandco on FF
withthevampsofcourse on FF

20 comments:

  1. Y'all actually made ms sniffly. That may have been one of the sweetest things I've ever read and not just because I can relate. I am lump in the throat happy that you both found each other - what you have is rare, and enviable. Great advice on the collaborating, too.

    I'm going to go away and bawl now and frighten my husband. Thanks a lot. :D

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  2. This was fantastic. Sincerely. See, smellyia? Like I said the other night, when the good ideas start flying between two heads, there is no stopping them. It's like a crazy wildfire of awesome.
    I am so happy we have this blog for posts like this one alone. I felt like I was at a meeting for a twelve step program and jandco and wtvoc stood up and told their story.
    Hello, jandco and wtvoc, you inspire. And you are right, collabs are really above all about great relationships. I don't know if you said that specifically but it is obvious in your meaning.
    And, tell me, is there anything greater than coming up with a creative idea with someone who blows your mind and rolling with it?
    No.
    (smellyia, per your text last night: We ALL have to bring our 'A' game now)

    ReplyDelete
  3. (I posted this before and it didn't post SOOOO if for some reason it is up twice-ignore)
    I relate to your "article" well. I met my bizarro twin JDSK on the Fail Train at Twilighted last summer/fall. The awesome thing is that she lives about 20 minutes from me. Everyday we find out we have more random things in common yet we totally move in different circles in different communities in RL. But we have merged one another into our RL's and it has only made my life fuller.

    FF and this blog, and the forums all bring us together for the same reason. We all love to read (IT'S FREE), we all have a crazy sense of humor. Most of us have a intense love for all things Rob, and his utter hotness and insanity.

    As women it is interesting that we have to reach across the country to find a handful of women we relate to, but it is awesome that we have this outlet to do so. I love the fact I have friends in Oregon or Germany or across town...and at any time of the day i can say, OMG DID YOU SEE ROBs PIC WITH TSTU? I THINK HE LET HIM OUT OF THE GIMP HOLE IN THE BASEMENT...and they know exactly what I'm talking about.

    sigh...thanks.

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  4. yeesh, emibella. thanks fer pointing out that we don't have an actual point. heh

    and anna, if you have a new tomstu pic, WHY DON'T I HAVE IT?

    HAPPY DB THURSDAY! TWO EPISODES.... YESSSSSS

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  5. Holy crap. That was an epic collab post about collab posting. Fucmazing.

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  6. I would never have thought myself a collab writer (the obsessive-compulsive, controlling bitch I am doesn't lend herself to collaboration well..) but like the ladies, i found my soulmate and we were teh success.
    You girls summed it up perfectly here, I spent the entire post nodding in agreement.

    Thanks ladies!
    <3 you Ava

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  7. Dude, so reading this is like like watching a really hot couple making out on a park bench. Like you said, seriously, if most twains engaged in such public revelry, it wouldn't work and we'd all be sorta horrified and grossed. But as it is, you've turned us into sappy voyeurs.

    Hehehehehehe.

    Way to go, you two.

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  8. When I read that, all my sins came back to me. I still have to give a review for your awesome stories wtvoc sent me ... soon, I hope ;-)

    So I haven't found my online soulmate, but I found my long lost sister and a lot of lovely ladies I'm really glad to call my friends. And of course I found a lot of very good stories - actually too many, my day has only 24 hours - that I love. Your's are not the only ones, but some of my favorites, as single writers as well as a couple ... and now go back to writing!

    Birgit

    PS: Wtvoc: You have to come back to the fail train in the near future. I'm only about 70 posts away from the Den ...

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  9. That brought a tear to my eye, a smile to my face, and a new Depend to my ass.

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  10. "withthevampsofcourse said...

    yeesh, emibella. thanks fer pointing out that we don't have an actual point. heh "

    just keeping it real, wtvoc.
    BUT it was more pointing out that you DO have an actual point.
    Which is impressive. Often times I don't have a point.
    Case in point, this post.

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  11. pointless posts are the cinnamon and sugar on my french waffle.

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  12. God you guess are such a great collab, of course you already know that. I'm actually a little jealous that you guys have each other to bounce ideas off, write stories together, and just be friends even though you live so far away.

    I think the only other collaboration stories that are just as good as your guys are Ashel-13 and HaydenMCullen. Who are such a cute couple.

    Keep on writing!!! :)

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  13. That was highly entertaining and very insightful. Thank you for the look into how it all goes down.

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  14. That was almost as much fun as Scotch, Gin, & The New Girl!

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  15. I have to agree with Avalonia...I got sniffy as well. It was great reading this girls, thank you for sharing it, I wish you both a lifetime of friendship. Oh, and you look lovely in that picture :)

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  16. I loved you both separately and I love you together. Someday I might find my interweb soulmate, until then I'll just bask in the glow that is Jandco and Wtvoc.

    That was just beautiful!

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  17. I just died a little bit, I laughed so hard.

    I love you guys. You're hilarious. I can't even stand it. Ugh. It's great.

    I'm gonna go off now and read some more of your fabulous stories. Seriously. It's all I do. How sad is that?
    lol.

    I kid. I kid... But seriously. Y'all are awesome.

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  18. I read this before, but I must have been asleep because I missed half of it.

    So I'm sitting here all the way in the UK, reading your stuff at 3.27am and yes you brought a tear to my eye! *sniff* Why dont you guys see each other? You should totally make babies or something. Are you far away? I'll pay for you plane ticket!!!

    Of course I love SG&NG. And I love that you guys have fun with it. As someone who's pretty new to the world of fanfic writing, I sometimes read all the reviews you guys get and think wow that must be IMMENSE pressure. Whilst I love being reviewed, sometimes you think this should't be work, it should just be fun...and I'm glad it remains that way for you guys. Yet even having fun you guys out-do yourself each time. awesome.

    please go visit each other. x

    BlueisSoul (ff.net)

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  19. I... visited, I saw, I read. And, because I can't NOT do it... "...I guess Scotch is like the hard copy of us." Not witty? I'll go ponder that.

    It was very cool to read this. Thanks to both of you for sharing it with everyone.

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  20. Apparently, I'm an emotional basket case. I'm sitting here bawling because you two are so awesome. If I buy the plane ticket will one of you go visit the other already? Paypal account at the ready . . . you know I'll do it! Yeah, I know, I'm behind on my TLYDF reading.

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