Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Author Guest Post: Natalie Aaron & Marla Schwartz, Authors of Unscripted

In association with Chick Lit Plus, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Natalie Aaron & Marla Schwartz, authors of Unscripted!

First off, we want to say thanks to Kathleen at Jersey Girl Book Reviews for hosting us on our Chick Lit Plus blog tour!!

When we decided to write Unscripted together, our friends were dubious. They'd cock their heads to the side, squint their eyes and say: "Really? Aren't you worried it will hurt the friendship?" They they would regale us with some horror story of a partnership gone bad: "They had to bring in a lawyer," "They don't speak anymore," "She was bludgeoned with a laptop!" (Okay, fine we made that one up).

While we appreciated the advice, we weren't worried (well, maybe we were slightly worried about the bludgeoning part). We'd been friends a long time, we shared the same sense of humor and we had an identical objective when it came to the book: we needed a fun, creative outlet. We really wanted to write the book and we wanted to write it together.

But we also needed to make sure that it would never jeopardize our friendship. And the only way we could ensure that was to be on the same page with every decision. Sure, that mandate created some lengthy discourse (leading to the occasional postponement of some important matters) but it also guaranteed that neither of us would ever feel ambushed when it came to the book. We hashed out every option - listed the pros and cons and would eventually come to a unanimous decision. And on the rare occasion when we didn't see eye to eye, we'd give in to the person who felt more, er, passionately about the matter.

It took us some time to get started - it was much easier to talk about writing than to actually write. The book lingered in the periphery of our conversations for quite some time until we finally decided to stop watching Buffy reruns and start writing.

We began by brainstorming ideas that we'd like to feature in our story. We dredged up memories of reality nuggets that we'd witnessed over the years (not to mention what our friends had shared with us) and made an enormous list of behind the scenes reality gold. It was juicy, it was bizarre and it was turning our story into a bit of a burn book. And while that was vastly entertaining to us, we were a little worried about those pesky confidentiality agreements we had signed.

So we started fresh - we took inspiration from our stories and gathered the tales of our eager friends and made new lists that wouldn't get any of us sued! Next, we created a rough plot of the book and some basic character traits for our protagonist. We had a beginning and we had an end. Surely all that business in the middle would just work itself out?

So after a prolonged bout of fear-based procrastination, we deciding it was time to actually write the beast. We sat side by side with Marla's laptop and surprisingly the words just danced onto the screen ... it was like magic, it was destiny ... and we finished the entire rough draft in just a week!

Yeah. No. It was torture. We just sat there, waiting for inspiration to strike, trying to figure out how to actually write together. After enduring several of these sessions, we had a couple of pages, but they were terrible. And most importantly - we weren't having any fun. So we stopped for a while, until we finally figured out that we would never finish the book if we kept going at that pace. We knew the only way we could make it work was to outline the book. And not just an overview, but a scene-by-scene breakdown. And once we dedicated ourselves to that - we started having fun again. We met nearly every Saturday for three months and outlined the hell out of the book - we had in-depth character profiles, post-production schedules for the fictional shows and most importantly, a breakdown of every chapter.

We were ready to go! And then disaster struck. On the weekend that we designated "the big write," Marla's computer made a sad face and promptly died, taking three months of our work with it. We're not sure of the events that unfolded that day prior to the crash, but it may have had something to do with a webcam, a magnet and a husband named Matt (Marla's husband to be exact).

It was tragic but at least we had a backup of our work! Oh wait. No we didn't. (We know, we know. Don't rub it in!) So after a massive pity party for three (Matt was the host), we decided to start over. Putting the pieces back together was a rough and slow process but we managed to do it.

From there, we assigned scenes and went off to write happily by ourselves. As our work progressed, we'd send each other our pages, make notes and move on to the next scene. And by the end, we were proud to say that we had actually accomplished our goal - we wrote a book together and had fun doing it.

Do you have any writing partner horror stories you'd like to share? We'd love to hear from you!

GOODREADS - Unscripted
GOODREADS - Natalie Aaron
GOODREADS - Marla Schwartz

BUY THE BOOK: Unscripted

Click on the above link to enter the contest giveaway! Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card!

If you purchase your copy of Unscripted before January 30 and send your receipt to , you will get five bonus entries!


  1. I wonder if I'll ever be brave enough to attempt this...

  2. Samantha - ha! We consider ourselves very lucky - we've definitely heard some horror stories!
    But don't worry, we know you have the bravery thing covered...

    Kathleen - thank you so much for hosting us! And thank you, Samantha for this awesome tour - we've had a blast!

  3. This is so interesting and something I've wondered about - how people co-author a book. I can see the outline part being really important, and, actually is a good way to work alone as well (I don't). The discipline of it is so important. Thanks for sharing this. Really interesting. I'm so glad you guys hung in there so that I am able to enjoy your wonderful book.

  4. I can"t even imagine co-writing a book. I'm beyond impressed. And as you know I loved the book. Kudos!

  5. Thank you Natalie and Marla for the awesome author guest post! It was my pleasure to host your virtual event on JGBR! :)

    Thank you Samantha for the opportunity to host this virtual tour event! :)

    Thank you Tess & Meredith for the comments, these ladies are great together! :)

  6. Being a Gemini, I'm sort of my own writing partner... which in and of itself is a serious horror show at least once a week! :)

    Natalie & Marla -- always great fun reading tour interviews & posts! Enjoy the remainder of the Grand Tour... I am sure you will!

  7. Tess & Meredith - thanks for posting & we're so happy you enjoyed the book.

    Erik - I think there are pills that you can take for that...:) Can't wait to check out your tour, too!

    Kathleen & Samantha - thanks again!