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Flight: How Authors And Readers Co-Wrote A Novella During The 2012 RT Booklovers Convention

Great things come from book conventions. Readers meeting authors. Authors pitching books. Publishers finalizing contracts. But what happens when all three of these groups come together? Well, if you were at the 2012 RT Booklovers Convention, you had a chance to take part in a fantastic workshop where readers participated in a brainstorming session that resulted in a story the authors co-wrote and have now published.

“Flight,” the newly-released, self-published short story is the result of the “You Done It” workshop at the 2012 RT Convention. After readers and workshop attendees brainstormed the plot, it was up to the writers of the authors of “The Outfit,” a collective of Chicago crime writers, to get the story written. Talent including Libby Fischer Hellmann, Laura Caldwell, Jamie Freveletti and Michael Allen Dymmoch wrote the story in round-robin segments. The result is a mystery with a unique voice.

So what can you expect from this co-written, co-inspired crime story? Well here’s what we can tell you: it features two strangers meeting in a chance encounter, a car chase, gunshots and a fight to find the elusive truth.

But it wasn’t a clear road to what plot points this story would include. First, it all had to be hammered out during the “You Done It” workshop.

The session itself was fascinating. The audience pitched a myriad of ideas — sometimes even speaking over each other to be heard. And although this did lend itself to some confusion, there was also a lot of listening, furious writing and head nodding.

Ideas were flying and some of the interesting discussion around diverse topics as The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the bird flu and Rod Blagojevich. The authors took all of these ideas to craft a cohesive story. (Although it is one that will keep mystery fans in suspense as they try to separate the characters’ webs of deception.)

However, we cannot think of a better team to bring this project from idea to finished project. Hellmann won our hearts with her December 2010 novel Set the Night on Fire. Caldwell’s Claim of Innocence captured our attention in 2011 and we were thrilled to get the series second early this year. Dymmoch has written books across the genre but his latest, M.I.A, which is one part mystery and one part romance. Meanwhile, Jamie Freveletti has made a name for herself with fast-paced suspense novels.

Each author got something very different from working in collaboration. Hellmann says that she has contributed to a similar project before loves this type of co-writing. “I had my own take on the story, but it was lots of fun to read how the other authors interpreted it. Which was quite different than me. Lots of surprises.” As for Dymmoch, he says the final results turned out a bit different from his other writing. He suggests that other writers interested in co-writing to work with people with similar styles, but then again there is a plus to getting more points of view into a story. When asked the favorite part of “Flight” Dymmoch says, “The final line, which I think will satisfy cynics and romantics.”

So if it’s true that if two minds are better than one, a story written by a dozen minds must be truly great!

Want to decide for yourself? You can pick up your own copy of collaborative story “Flight” available now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And for more fun in the genre, be sure to check out RT’s Everything Mystery Page.