Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Weaving in the Backstory

The next case in the DMS files is open! Follow along with Fairday and friends as the mystery unwinds in the Talking Library.
Anything’s possible!

Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library
Book 2 in the Fairday Morrow Series
Jessica Haight & Stephanie Robinson
Illustrations by David SanAngelo
Publish Date: October 23, 2017
Publisher: Willow Press
ISBN# 978-0-9993449-0-3
Weaving in the Backstory

By Jessica Haight & Stephanie Robinson

Oh, the web we weave in writing! Crafting the second book in the Fairday Morrow series was much like putting together the Harry Potter puzzle with the lake. You know the one, where the whole center of picture is the same color blue— every piece. And when it’s finished you feel like something should happen, like balloons will rain down from the ceiling or someone’s going to hand you an award. And then you remember you’re in your house, and silently celebrate that satisfying feeling of fitting the last piece of the puzzle into place.

Back before we were co-authors, we lived as roommates. We did not collaborate on books at that time, but we did put together Harry Potter puzzles (we are big fans). This may sound a bit strange for two friends in their 20’s, living on their own. Not exactly a wild time, though we had our fair share of those. BUT, working on Harry Potter puzzles was fun, and it was an activity that gave us skills to collaborate on the Fairday Morrow series.

The room was quiet when we worked on puzzles together, with the exception of a few mumbles and groans. This is similar to how it is when we edit. Today, when we’re involved in a project, the conversations are held on speaker phone, and there’s still pretty much no talking.

So how do we communicate? Are we telepathic? Lol— no. We collaborate using Google Docs. That is the space where we fit the pieces of our puzzle into place— the Fairday Morrow series. When we’re in the editing stages, we work on the documents via phone and computer. The manuscript is on the cloud, so we can see the other person’s edits. This significantly speeds up the process of writing the book and makes for a much cleaner manuscript, especially when working with editors. The resolve button is a delight beyond measure!

Google Docs is a fantastic tool for weaving in backstory. It allows us to break the ms into individual chapters, so they’re easy to manipulate. With a basic layout and timeline set in place, it’s easy to find the parts of the story where you want to insert or omit content. Using Google Docs has helped us maintain continuity with our writing and a keep good flow with the pacing of the story.

When pieces of a puzzle are laid out on a table, you can see where they need to be based on their shape, even if they’re the same color. It might seem hard, but if all the pieces are there, you’ll sort it out. Working with an ms in Google Docs is a similar experience.

Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library is a stand-alone book, however the first mystery is tied into the second. Readers can follow along with the DMS to try to solve the case of the Talking Library without having read The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow (book 1), but if they want to delve deeper into the case file, they can familiarize themselves with the clues in book 1.

This was tricky business, as the backstory is quite involved, so having a tool that allows us to weave in scenes and explanations easily is priceless. Using Google Docs with our amazing editors, Betsy Thorpe and Nicole Ayers, was awesome, and seeing the final, clean manuscript in all its shining brilliant glory is definitely something to celebrate— silent, golden satisfaction. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Jessica Haight & Stephanie Robinson, co-authors of the Fairday Morrow Series
Visit us on the web at:

Stephanie and Jess met freshman year of high school. It was in English class where they first discovered they liked the same books. Their friendship grew, and over the years they went on to work as servers together, go to the same college for a short time, and they even became roommates for a while. Many books were discussed, but none were ever written. Now, after the release of their first middle grade novel, The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow, Stephanie and Jess are excited to keep building the mystery in Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library.


  1. Thank you for sharing this post, always enjoy hearing about your collaborative process and tools you use.

  2. Good to know how you 2 lovely ladies get to grips with the story. I must confess to being a big Harry Potter fan, too! Hugs, Valerie

  3. And with Google Docs, you can work as if you still lived together.
    Nothing wrong with putting together puzzles. They're fun and challenging.

  4. As a reader rather than a writer I hadn't even heard of Google Docs. I am so glad to be shown another piece of the puzzle - and congratulations again.

  5. Did puzzles here and there too, although the cat likes to kamikaze them now. Google Docs sure can do the trick to help out indeed.

  6. What an interesting post, with more insight.
    Great reading, thank you.

    All the best Jan

  7. Very cool! We have the kids at school collaborating on docs together - but I've never done it myself. Love it!

  8. I think it is awesome how you two have known each other for so long, even lived together for a while... I agree, that probably helped with the writing process... congratulations on your second book and more to come xox

  9. Hi DMS - fascinating to see how you work together and obviously have complete trust in each other's abilities - what a wonderful working arrangement - clever! It works ... so well done - cheers Hilary

  10. Interesting that you came up with this concept and it worked for you!

  11. Wow! Thanks for the information. I'm so behind in technology. Have never used Google Docs but now I want to. I think it's on my computer. It's great that you can work together like that. You did a nice job.

  12. Aw, loved reading a bit about your story and how you started writing :D So awesome. Thank you for sharing. <3

  13. This is so cool! I am so happy for the both of you!! Big Hugs!

  14. I am someone who does not co write because I am painfully controlling when it comes to my writing - I know, I admit it. So of course, it always intrigues me when books are co written. It's cool that you two used to do puzzles together! And it's pretty great that google docs work so well for you. When I had to do group projects for school I used it too.

  15. Hi all-
    We love all of your comments. We are happy we were able to tell you a bit more about how we work together and what our process is like. We feel lucky to have a writing partner! :) ~Jess and Stephanie


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