Category Archives: writing

Back to the Books

Ellen Curtis
Ellen Curtis

This week at Engen Books saw myself and Matthew back to school for the fall semester. Now don’t get me wrong, I love school, but there are things I’d rather be doing. Say, working on the tentative international re-release of Compendium for November. Or the upcoming Engen Universe book of short stories. Or the TR project.

What you can definitely expect in the coming weeks will be some brand new Engen Bytes, which we will be filming next Wednesday. As always, we’re trying to keep people informed about some of the new things we’re working toward.

Basically, I’m just going to be brief today. The early rise for school and the late nights of sick-Matthew (apparently the boss isn’t impervious to the common cold) mumbling and coughing are catching up to me, and quite frankly I need some time to relax! So, until next time, and until we get some Engen Bytes online, I’ll take off!

Happy reading!

The Taskmaster

Ellen Curtis
Ellen Curtis

People often ask me what it is like to write with another person, especially since that person is my partner. The truth of the matter is, it is at once the most stressful and most rewarding experience that I have had as an author. Matthew is one of my favorite people, and we are alike in many ways, so when we work well together, we work very well. When we clash, however, the fights can be extreme.

I refer to Matt as ‘The Taskmaster’ because he often is on my case about writing. We both lead busy lives, juggling the business, post secondary, our day jobs and day-to-day life. Sometimes, it is too much to come home after such a full day and sit down for three hours at my desk and write a few thousand words. Matt, on the other hand escapes to his computer after a long day. As such, we often do not produce the same amount of work in the run of a month, which admittedly must be quite frustrating for him when we’re operating under the system of writing particular sections of a novel, and I’m a fair few chapters behind where he is.

This stress aside, there is the added stress of agreeing on what exactly we will be writing ahead of time. All of our joint endeavors are meticulously planned chapter by chapter, so the planning portion of the novel can often be more labor intensive than actually writing it. Many times we will viciously fight over which character should play which part, what their motivations are for their actions, and ultimately if we should pursue a storyline based on conflicts with existing or planned material. In the end, it rests on how devoted each of us is to our ideas, and through these challenges we have learned how to better compromise as a couple. Our conflicts in writing remind us to not take criticisms personally, and to not make criticisms personal.

There are many upsides to writing with Matthew, if anything I have said leads one to believe otherwise. We feed off each others ideas, and through this interaction we are both challenged to deliver more and be more creative. Each work is more complex, more intriguing, because we each add our own layers to the story.