Index cards – an essential part of our writing process

Thanks to Jacqui Rowe, who nominated us, we’re taking part in the “My Writing Process” blog tour.
You can see Jacqui’s blog at
The idea is that we answer 4 questions about our writing process:

1) What are we working on?

We are currently writing books 3 and 4 in the comic fantasy world that started with Clovenhoof, where Satan is made redundant from Hell and has to come to terms with living in suburban Birmingham.
The new books are known by the working titles of “Monk Story” and “Joan of Arc”. You can see that we need better titles for these.
The monk story is based on the monastery on Bardsey Island, which we visited in the story of “Pigeonwings”, our second novel. We loved the characters of the monks so much that we thought they deserved their own novel.
The Joan of Arc story is a road trip across Europe, featuring some of the saints that we have met in our previous stories. Joan is a wonderful character, she’s an optimistic bundle of energy who wants to make everything better. She’s accompanied by St Francis who goes everywhere with a huge, man-eating wolf, and St Christopher, who was appalled to discover that the pope declared in 1969 that he never actually existed, which brings its own problems.

2) How does our work differ from others of its genre?

We categorise our novels as fantasy, but the humour is really important to us. We find that it’s the part most suited to collaborative writing, as it’s possible to take something funny and stretch it into lots of different directions between the two of us.

3) Why do we write what we do?

We wanted to write something that we are both comfortable with. When we started to think about what that might look like, we considered the types of story that we’d both written and where there was the greatest overlap.

4) How does our writing process work?

We work together at the highest level when we’re about to start a new novel. The “brainstorming ideas” part might involve us throwing ideas into a document over a couple of weeks, it might involve us getting ideas off our friends in the pub, or it might involve us working together over a big sheet of paper. Mostly it involves all of these things.
Next we need to organise these ideas into a plot. This really needs to be done in an extended meet-up session where we use HUGE pieces of paper (wallpaper lining paper is ideal) with lines connecting ideas into plot strands to give us an idea of the order that we need.
Once we know at a high level what our chapters will contain, we work through them in a leapfrogging manner. One of us will write a chapter synopsis for the other. Then we swap, so that we can write the chapter. Then we swap back for editing, to smooth out the style. Working this way, we can turn around two chapters in three weeks.