Welcome back to episode two of The Rebel Author Podcast. I’ve purposefully launched two episodes in rapid succession for the launch. For the rest of 2019, I’ll be bringing you two episodes a month, though this might increase come 2020. Today’s episode is all about co-writing for indie authors featuring Dan Willcocks.
Today’s episode welcomes, Dan Willcocks, you can find out more about Dan on his website, instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Listen to his podcast Great Writers Share here. We also discussed his book Twisted.
In the Introduction
I mention Narrated by the Author by Renee Conoulty, a must read or listen to if you want to narrate, edit and produce your own audiobooks. I also read out the first listener rebel. If you’d like to have a rebel memory read out on the show, you can tweet me @rebelauthorpod or email me here with your memory and social media handle.
If you’d like to listen to each episode before anyone else, you can support the show on Patreon here.
Sacha Black 0:03
Hello, and welcome to the rebel author podcast. I’m Sacha Black and I am here today with Dan Wilcox. Dan is an Amazon author and podcaster of dark fiction. He is one quarter of digital stories studio Hawk and cleave up, co producer of iTunes busting the other stories podcast, celebrating over 3 million downloads, as well as the host of the great writers share podcast.
Dan Willcocks 0:32
Hello, how are you?
Sacha Black 0:33
I’m good. Thank you. So just just a little point here, Dan just said to me before we came on on the air, or they were not live or not live, you know, this is the air and that he wasn’t technical Dude, you have 3 million downloads Like what? Yeah, but
Dan Willcocks 0:48
I mean, you can be technical or you can be you can get that amount of damage that happens with the technical we’ve managed to outsource a lot of the stuff that requires a technicality to other people because I’m I’m fairly or unfairly technically minded, but not enough. I want to kind of get to the nitty gritty of all the audio editing and everything else. I’m still learning.
Sacha Black 1:05
Yeah, nothing you say is going to change the fact you have 3 million downloads, and I’m wildly impressed and just will believe that your technical Anyway,
Dan Willcocks 1:13
thank you very much.
Sacha Black 1:14
And so let’s let’s go straight to the questions. And can you tell me a little bit about your writing journey and and where you came from? Because obviously, you’re full time now. But you weren’t always. And so how did you go from the concept of writing a book to being a full time author?
Dan Willcocks 1:32
Okay, so a whistle stop tour through how I approached it, and what I’ve done with my writing. So essentially, I started writing in 2014. And I’m not one of these people that spent all my life thinking, I’m going to be a writer, I’m gonna be an author. That was, it was something that, you know, it would always be nice if if that happened, but it wasn’t ever something I was actively trying to achieve. And then I actually ended up going full time as a freelancer around 2013 2014, doing a lot of editing and proofreading. And around that time, I got to a point where I was bored of editing other people’s work and wanted to actually be the person creating the work. So I set about writing my first novella, it took a lot longer than it should have, it’s more edits, and it should have released that in October of 20. I want to say 2015. And it somehow got to the number one spot on the short horror stories charts for over the Halloween period. So obviously, for a horror author, that’s kind of a fantastic thing to happen. And fast forward a little bit. I met some guys online just doing a bit of networking, trying to meet other writers and met Ben Arrington, Luke Condor, and Matt butcher, who are the other three guys from Hawk and Cleaver. We joined together made made the Hawk and Cleaver digital story studio, and around the April of 2016, released the other stories podcast, which is 20 minutes short fiction release every Monday, every four weeks, we change the theme. It’s all horror, sci fi thriller themes. It’s a very dark, and yet I kind of hit it off. And from there, it’s just been a whirlwind of getting books out, just co writing with a lot of different people. And yeah, April this year, I can say I was very, very lucky to be able to take myself full time as an author, which is, which is nice.
Sacha Black 3:10
Absolutely amazing. I think it is the majority of most authors that I know it. I think that is probably their dream. Not Not everybody, of course, but I think most of the ones that I know. And certainly the Indies that is that is the dream. So just before we were here today to talk about paid writing, but just before we dive into that, tell us a little bit more about the podcast. So are you are you writing for audio first? Or are they excerpts from novels or tell us a bit more about your your two podcasts.
Dan Willcocks 3:39
So the other story is basically started off as an experiment. Originally, it was going to be a an eMag. So the plan was for because there were four of us writing, we were each going to write a 1000 word short story sticking to an email and put it out as a bit of content while we produce other stuff, just to have a steady flow of content that comes out each month that people can rely on. And Luke Condor who’s a co writer of mine, and has been in podcasting for a fair few years said, Why don’t we Why don’t we try to make it podcast and see see what happened. So it was never originally the seed wasn’t for it to be a podcast. But then I think the structure of it, lends itself very well to podcasting. Because one of the things that we get a lot from our listeners are, the fact is it’s 20 minutes short fiction, it’s wrapped up in a bubble, people have a beginning, middle and end, you can listen to it on the bus, on the train on the car, whatever your journey is, it’s a short amount of fiction, you can just jump into and get out. And I think that’s what keeps people hooked. But it’s always been a case of everything we put on that podcast is original is our own work. And yeah, I mean, a lot of the times, we tend to write in a way or I tend to write I’m basically the other guys, I tend to write in a way that I’m just creating a short story that I like, and the the narrative production that we use, is often more just a almost like an audiobook NARRATOR But we’ve got an editor, but sort of sound effects into it if it needs to be rather than almost like a audio play where it’d be two people speaking, and we’ve done a couple of those, but we tend to keep it quite straight, just because it’s easier to produce and keep it rolling every week and produce. And so yeah, I mean, a few episodes been written, I’ve written a few episodes where I’ve specifically had an a desired effect in mind, or it’s been written almost like a script or monologue in from someone’s head. But the majority of time is it tends to just be there now 2000 word short stories because we up to the the length of it. And, and yeah, it’s stories I could have put into things like anthologies and short story collections for myself stuff that I can then repurpose and use elsewhere. And just make the most of the content.
Sacha Black 5:37
That was literally going to be my follow up question. Are you are you anthologising them? Or have you said that short stories? Do you ever you know, because I write flash fiction, and occasionally poetry, but sometimes the flash fiction has become a seed for a whole novels. Do you ever find that that happens with your shorts?
Dan Willcocks 5:58
Oh, this is all linking together very well. So a minute. And yeah, absolutely. The minute I actually I’ve transformed a 2000 word short story that I did about five months ago into a 30,000 word novella that I’m currently editing and bringing forward to hopefully get out by Halloween as my as my book for this year. So I like to always bring something new out around October. And so yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s really good because I’ve got a collection of shorts from the podcast called twisted, which came out came out April last year. And, and that’s got 28 stories that are written, which obviously, if you do the math, 2000 words each that’s 56,000 words into a collection. So it’s fairly good value for people, but within that are just seeds and seeds and seeds for stories and things that I mean, there are a couple of stories in there, one that I have tried to make into a longer work. And I don’t feel like I’m ready enough as a writer yet to expand it fully. And but yeah, there’s a lot in there that we could pull from and expand if I wanted to. And potentially maybe in the future.
Sacha Black 6:55
So why, what just last question for you actually talk about what we’re supposed to be talking about but this is just so interesting. So why do you not feel ready? Is that just because you want to develop as a writer because I have kind of a story that is on my back burner because I’m like obsessive about learning craft. And I just feel like I want to be at a certain level of ability, I suppose before I attempt it. Is it? Is it a similar?
Dan Willcocks 7:22
Yeah, I think so. So the story itself, is based on an oil rig out in the in the oceans of Nova Scotia. And I think it’s primarily just because I haven’t had the time to sit down and properly research life on an oil rig. So I got about 15 20,000 words into the story. And then I, you know, I may be wrong, I may be bit self critical about it. But in reading it back, I went, you know, this isn’t, I’m not feeling the authenticity of being on an oil rig. And I think I’ve reached out to some people, I’ve got a few people that do work on my work. So I’m going to be speaking to it and getting out there. But yeah, I feel like, I just need to adjust it look at it from a slightly different lens. And then, so I’ll just make it a bit more of a comprehensive narrative.
Sacha Black 8:03
Amazing. So is that book that you mentioned about Halloween? On pre order get? Can everybody get it? or…
Dan Willcocks 8:09
Not yet. I am in the second edits going through the book of the minute. And I’ve never personally gone through the pre order process. So maybe something that I experiment with and give a go, I may put it up for pre order. But otherwise, I mean, I can sell the title of the book is going to be called the mark of the Damned. Okay. And yeah, it’ll be it’ll be out around October, I guarantee it.
Sacha Black 8:33
Okay, well, so everybody going to follow Dan on Amazon, because then you’ll get an alert when it comes out. And Okay, moving on to what we’re supposed to talk about. Co-writing. So you co write loads of books. And it’s something that I know, lots of people who want to write fast, publish fast, do. But also people who just want to, you know, work with somebody else, because this can be a lonely business. So can you tell me a little bit about what co writing looks like for you? What does it entail? What’s the process like?
Dan Willcocks 9:07
So I’ve… so if I narrow it down, I think looking at, I’ve approached it through three different ways, I’ve had sort of three different setups when it comes to co writing, the first one I did was with Luke Condor from Hawk and Cleaver. And our plan for that was basically the model we base it around was we wanted to write more books. Try again, write books faster. And, and the best way to do that, that we could work out was team up together, and we’d look we’ve read each other’s books, and we thought our writing styles are quite similar, we get on very well anyway. And so we thought we’d give it a go. So the plan was and what we eventually delivered was writing two books at once, where we storyboard both the individual stories, one of us will take the lead on particular book, and write the first draft each and then once we both finished, we can swap over each do a second draft swap over and go on until we’re happy. which worked fantastically, we had two books come out of that, which was one was the rock which is in our they rock apocalyptic series, and another one, the Lazarus which came out and the only hiccups we hit with that where we expected the books a bit run the same length, and we write it fairly similar speed. So we thought we’d hit it and be able to stop at the same time as what baby, but one book ended up being 55,000 words and the other end up being 100,000 words. So there’s a little bit of a couple of issues in the timing there. But we just got sort of waited, swapped over.
Sacha Black 10:32
Who wrote long? Who wrote long?
Dan Willcocks 10:34
That was me. But it was one of those where I felt like the story needed it. And maybe you know, in hindsight, I probably could have cut a bit from it. But it was it was our first soiree into collaborating. And so that was one where we basically like I say, we kind of just each stepped in and out, we made the ideas together went for it. And I also did a collaboration with J Thorn on his American demons series, which was different in in the way that he already had an established world. And he had three central characters that the stories were through. And so I essentially had to adopt his characters and put them into a story that I’d been created, which I mean, working with J was absolutely fantastic. And I love him, he’s a fantastic guy. And by default, like that was probably the trickiest of all the collaborations because you are a bit more restricted with what the characters can do and who they are. And obviously, if you’ve already got seven, eight books in that backlist, and you’ve got readers now reading this book, they expect them to be in a certain way. So you really have to read the rest and understand what’s going on with them and how they react to certain situations. But I’m proud of what we came out with that was fun. And then the most recent ones are with Michael Anderle, in which the co writing is a lot more. It’s kind of a middle ground between the two. So Michael obviously has his theory and Gambit universe, which he’s created these guys timelines, there are characters here in there. But as a as a collaborator in that world, I essentially have free rein just to drop my own characters that I create into his world and then just abide by certain rules. So it’s not much the nitty gritty of the individual characters, it’s more the global rules that you have to follow, which can be a lot of fun and has been a lot of, there’s been a lot of sort of ideation and just playing around with the things that are in that world and just sort of bouncing off and seeing how far I can stretch it. So those are the three different different types that I’ve approached.
Sacha Black 12:24
And so how far you mentioned that you write quite fast. So how fast are we talking here? Terrify me with your speed.
Dan Willcocks 12:33
So on a on a good day, I’ll average eight to 10,000 words.
Sacha Black 12:37
Dan Willcocks 12:38
on a on a regular day probably be today, for example, I count as a poor day. And that was 4000 words.
Sacha Black 12:44
Wow. And I mean, just wow. Is that just bum chair, you know, fingers on keyboard? Or do you do type fast? What is your secret? It’s outragous,
Dan Willcocks 12:56
I think. I mean, I don’t think I’m anything special. I think it’s practice and I think I am, I’ve grown more disciplined over the years, I definitely haven’t been an organized, disciplined person in the past. And what I have done, and what I do do a lot is constantly looking at different methods to improve, I sort of study how people can be productive, the different things that sort of get you in the zone. And I think a lot of the time, it just comes from habit. And one of the things that I did to start with, which is I started just with my workout and just tracking my workout. And to be honest, about a year ago, I think I was averaging about 800 to maybe 1000 1200 words in an hour. And then now I’m more around sort of 1500 to two and a half thousand. And most of that is because it’s attitude base, I’m not, I’m not guaranteeing their quality words, because this is like this is timing out first draft most of the time. And I’m lucky enough, I’ve got some editors and a good editor I myself to go back and clean up. But for me, I’ve The thing that I found is the faster I can write, the more I stopped the hesitation and the more flow actually find its way into the writing. So I will look back. And actually like I’m quite happy with this, because I think the worst thing that any writer can do is stop for a significant amount of time and then have to go back and visit a story because that just breaks your flow, it breaks your thoughts. And it’s just tricky to get back into it. And But yeah, I mean, for me, it’s just, it’s just practicing, I know, I know what I’m capable of now. So I then try to hold myself accountable to that standard a lot.
Sacha Black 14:27
So and I’m guessing you must plot them in order to write that fast or do you write into the dark are you a pantser or whatever they call it.
Dan Willcocks 14:35
I’m a bit of both I’ll do initial planning and research into what I want the story to achieve. And then I kind of have a bit of a here’s what I want to happen in act one, act two, act three, a couple of key points that are the big points. And then I do do a fair bit of discovery writing. So I know who my main character I want to introduce I know the the conflicts I want to achieve and hit. And then a lot of the time, the path I envision taken to that will just be veer off and I’ll get there eventually, but very different, different road. But I think, again, when you sort of write fast, you’re writing with your imagination, and you’re sort of on a parallel with yourself. So yeah, I wouldn’t, I’d like to be more of a plotter. But I’m just not. Yeah,
Sacha Black 15:19
I plot and then I just don’t look at it and don’t write anything like the plot. So
Dan Willcocks 15:27
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that. Because obviously in in creating that initial bit of plot, you’re already seeing the ideas in your head for what you will then unconsciously do as you’re writing through it and different things will start to pan out and you’ll be like, okay, discard that just without knowing and then bring this in. And yeah, I think I think getting the healthy balance. I don’t think there’s a right way. I just, it’s just how I how I do.
Sacha Black 15:48
No, that’s absolutely true. And I think it takes people a few books before they really know how they write anyway, and, and you know, experimenting, I don’t really help myself because I don’t write chronologically either. So not only do I not follow my plot, I also don’t write in order.
Dan Willcocks 16:07
I would struggle I’m definitely a linear, when a to point b, let’s go
Sacha Black 16:12
Yeah, I wish I wish I could do that I just I write the things that come into my brain and they are never in the correct order. It’s insane. Anyway, so co writing is is is fascinating to me. But obviously, we are talking about intellectual property rights. And that means there’s copyright issues, there’s legal issues, there’s royalties to be paid. So normally, as an indie author, you know, you have full control of all of those things, the books get sold, the money comes into your bank, but not so much if you are a co author and you are not the publisher. So how does that work? Tell me more about that.
Dan Willcocks 16:54
Okay, so I’ll preface this as well by saying I’m in no way any qualified to discuss or two recommend legal advice on how people should do it. And but I have seen a fluidity in how people do approach it. So I’ve had some where, for example, the books that I’ve written with me and Luke, which are all our own intellectual property is stuff that we came up with equally. And we we have a gentleman’s agreement that we will eventually put paperwork down, which, you know, probably not the best way, but I’ll be completely transparent me and me and Luke are, were really close friends. So that we definitely have discussed putting it down on paper, it’s just getting around to it making that happen. But for us, it’s just a case of 45% goes to me 45% goes to Luke and then 10% goes back to Hawk and cleaver as a story studio that’s published the book itself. And that’s something that will likely do with sort of other books we put out through the Hawk and Cleaver brand. And some collaborations have been a case of I’ve been paid just a set fee, and then everything else belongs to the other author, which obviously simplifies it a lot, because it means that I know what to expect from the start, get completely what my delivery is. And then the author who retains the IP rights, they’ll get their royalties, they’ll do whatever. And that’s kind of their business. And, and I think, in that kind of deal, it’s, it depends what you’re after that. So for me, that was exposure, plus a little bit of cash, because that person has a bigger platform then than I did. So obviously, it balances out in its own way. And then with another It has been a case of just 50-50, royalty splits, and IP and any sort of residual royalties from certain things, depending on what the contract demands will then stay with the original creative VIP. So I think it It depends how you want to approach it, I’m yet to be on the side where, for example, I put out an anthology and I managed your royalties, it’s something that I am looking into, because I want to be a publisher of other people’s work and go down that route. But I think a lot of it just comes with expectations, just reading the contracts and just make sure both parties happy, I think, not at any point, if I’ve been scared to ask for something that I’ve wanted from a contract or an agreement. Or not any point has anyone tried to hide anything, I’ve been very, very, very, very lucky with my collaborating based off some of the stories I’ve heard of other people and how they can go wrong. And but it’s kind of how mine manage my mind very simplified to the minute it’s 50% from the stuff with Luke used to present from another contract. And then the rest were just flat fees.
Sacha Black 19:30
So tell me what the best part and the worst part of co writing is. There’s got to be some there’s got to be some nibbles somewhere. I don’t give me the gossip. Give me the gossip.
Dan Willcocks 19:44
I mean, again, like I said, I’ve been very very, very lucky with my collaborators i’ve i’ve found people that I fitted work with fitted with well, and I mean, the best part are you creating something bigger yourself by yourself, I went into writing originally already write my first couple of books that were my ego projects, my I just want to write these and get these done. And prove that I can do something to the world, but pretty much bar, my first novel, and this upcoming one that will be coming out, I’ll tell you, but every other one of my books has been a collaboration. And that’s Let me think probably about 12/13 books of them under a pen name. And, and it’s Yeah, I mean, being able to bounce ideas off of other writers being able to have someone that you can rely on to spit story ideas or get something back, there’ll be a twist that you never even would have thought of comes from someone else. You have someone there to massage your ego a bit your get a chapter sent back in it. And actually, this is really good. And you go home, thank you, I needed that which you obviously don’t get in, in solo writing but it is something that’s really really it’s just nice to have without… everyone needs their ego massaged at some point. And yeah, and I think it’s primarily a story, it is primarily the communication, the networking, the chance to share other people’s platforms, and for them to share yours are all the all the good sides in terms of the negatives, the only ones I’ve kind of encountered really come down to who you choose to collaborate with and what your expectations are. So I think the biggest ones will sometimes be conflicting deadlines or priorities. So it might be particularly if it’s potentially a book that you’re one of your first books, and you’re thinking, Oh, this is this is something I need to get my name on, I need to start putting myself out there. And you’re collaborating with someone who has 10 other things going on, and it’s not their most important priority, you will get frustrated, because you’ll be finding that you’ll be waiting a lot a long time for stuff to happen, that you feel that you probably could do yourself or maybe someone else would do better. And in those cases, I think it’s just better to talk it out, be open, be honest, and potentially find other people if you need to. And to be honest, that’s the only negative I can really think of I think if you’re someone who is in writing for your your own ego and for not in a negative way, because obviously everyone’s got a piece of themselves I want to share with the world. But if you’re someone that feels that you couldn’t let go over project very easily, or if you’ve suggested something and someone else said Actually no, and you’re like, really want to do this and maybe maybe cowritings not for you. But for me, I I left my ego at the door and anyone I collaborated with I say up from what I’m willing to do what I’m not willing to do. And just an example, I’ve written a pilot and several first episodes for a possible TV show, which is with a film friend of mine, and it’s not something that I see potentially will happen but obviously you don’t know unless you put something out there. And and straight from the start. I was working at the time on on my series with Michael and I said to him, I’m happy to work with you. I’m happy to create this story this world with you, I’m not gonna be able to put much in terms of physically writing the words down. So don’t expect that from me. And he was more happy to do that and said yeah, that’s absolutely fine. I want to do that anyway. And straight from the start. It was more of I was more of a creative contributed and rather than the natural co writer on that one but yeah, I mean, there’s there are a million ways to do it. And I think each collaboration is individual, not just from writer to writer but from book to book to project as well.
Sacha Black 23:19
What a diplomatic response. Less gossip. More diplomacy. No, I like it’s fine.
Dan Willcocks 23:25
No, I mean, I generally don’t really have much gossip. But it’s all I think. There are always frustrations are always niggles. It’s usually around the deadline thing. Sometimes people just forget stuff. Sometimes people have days in which they can’t get the words down because they’ve got the block something your prop up
Sacha Black 23:41
and kids starting school
Dan Willcocks 23:43
kids starting school. Yeah, as we were discussing today, and yeah, I mean, there’s, there’s, there’s niggles, but I just I do wholeheartedly love it. And I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have done so many if I didn’t think there was something that’s enjoyable and worth doing.
Sacha Black 23:56
Absolutely. And I think what, you know, I kind of said this earlier, but one of the things that I think is so good about playwriting is that it turns a very isolating job into a team, a team, team job, which is I think, fantastic. And okay, so thinking about, you know, you’ve said you’ve done, I think 12 or 13 books, so top tips for people who are considering or thinking about coming into co write, what should what should they be aware of? What things did you perhaps make mistakes on or learn from? Or what things you know, 13 books down the line, would you say, to somebody who’s thinking about co writing?
Dan Willcocks 24:31
I think the biggest one is, know why you’re doing it. So are you doing it because you want to connect with other authors? Are you doing it because someone else has a platform that you’re trying to get a piece of, are you doing it, just to try it and give it a go and see if it’s a good way to sort of work the writing process for yourself. And I mean, collaboration can mean 1000 different things on a people who collaborate by contributing ideas rather than the story I know people that do the bulk of the room thing, I know that people that just create a universe and then obviously just sell pieces about different different people. And so definitely just know why you’re doing it understand that. There is a lot of given take, being a co writer with someone is very much depending how you approach it can very much be like being in a relationship with someone you like honestly, particularly with me and Luke in that that first year in which we wrote our first book together, it was pretty much like everyday you messaging everyday you checking up, you have calls on on Skype on whatever just to discuss what’s going on this idea isn’t working this is you’re encouraging them things are frustrating, and then they’re happy. And then you celebrate that you promote and it’s wonderful. And and you do really get to know the sort of heart and mind the people that you that you cowrite with. And I think, yes, the top tips, know why you’re doing it. Understand that. Not everyone has the same expectations that you do. And like mentioned earlier, lay out what your expectations are. Because I think if you don’t do that from the start, and if you’re very much just a case of I’ve met you you’ve met me, this is fantastic. Let’s just dive into it. And it doesn’t always work that way, you definitely need to say what it is you’re that you’re willing to do what you’re trying to achieve. And put down some kind of paper agreements start with, obviously me and Luke hypocritical with that. But everything else I’ve done, has had some sort of paper contract has been signed, just to say, who owns the rights to what and what you’ve been promising get out of it by the end. And I think something else it’s probably worth looking at is beyond the writing itself. If you’re if you’re going indie and look at the marketing beyond and what you both can contribute to that. Because if you’re trying to make a book was successful, it goes beyond the writing and goes to your platforms, it goes to who’s going to take control of the promotion, whose dashboard, is it going to sit on, someone has to take the lead at some point, because otherwise, it’s just not gonna be published. And just trying to think of anything else. I think those are sort of the key ones is, it’s mostly why more than anything else, why is it you want to pay right? Now, I think that’s it.
Sacha Black 27:11
I think that’s probably a question that most writers ought to ask themselves when they, you know, looking at this as a business, because that’s the driver behind whether you want to be traditionally published or indie published, or, you know, whether you want to write to market even, or continue sticking, you know, with your genre fits perhaps more niche and harder to, to sell to. So yes, sorry, gone,
Dan Willcocks 27:34
I was gonna say I never started out writing, wanting to co write another didn’t want to co write it was just nothing that I considered. And then I got very, very lucky falling. I’m gonna keep saying that. Because I’m very, very thankful for sort of the path I’ve been on. But I got very lucky to get to know Luke and get to a point where we both were in a position where we wanted to co write, and it just so happened to be that we worked well together. I think, if I had stopped if someone else, it might have been a complete different direction. And I’d potentially be writing solo today. But yeah, I don’t I think it’s coming back to the relationship analogy, the more you look for your other half, the harder they are to find it. Yeah, I think you there’s no easy way to find a collaborator. And I feel like it’s something that you can’t force, you have to be on the same page.
Sacha Black 28:21
And I just I don’t believe in luck. By the way behind that luck was a lot of hard work, sweat tears, and, you know, writing related tantrums. So
Dan Willcocks 28:31
to be fair, yeah, yeah,
Sacha Black 28:33
Exactly. Exactly. Any tools or software that you particularly use that writers might find useful with co writing.
Dan Willcocks 28:42
And Google Docs, without a doubt is infinitely amazing. Just for the cloud sharing abilities. And the fact that you can both be in a document you can basically looking at over talks, you can add your comments, it tracks changes everything. So I know that Google isn’t the only person that does it. But I know this Microsoft, I can’t remember the word. I think it’s just word online or something, isn’t it?
Sacha Black 29:04
Dan Willcocks 29:06
There’s a Microsoft equivalent but Google Docs is fantastic Google Sheets as well, we use a lot for planning the other story stuff and just checking all the boxes, make sure we’re all up to date with who needs to what what production. And, and then for me, I keep it simple, I just use Scrivener. So I’ll create and write new words in Scrivener. And when me and Luke first started writing, and we’re both on the same versions of Scrivener, and I don’t think we are anymore, because it’s not sinking anymore. But we used to just be able to one of us will close document, the other one would open it and we’d have everything where we needed to be. Whereas now what I’ll do is I’ll write anything raw and fresh in Scrivener, and then just copy the entire chunk when it’s finished over into Google docs for whoever needs to see it to dive in and have a look. And and that’s that’s that’s mostly it. Slack is fantastic for just communicate with people if you’ve got a lot of people you’re trying to communicate with. So in the Hawking cleaver, so I think we’ve probably got about 2025 people in there, which is a mixture of writers, narrators, audio editors, and and just others or people that are useful and friends of ours that are sitting there and talk. And so finding a way to communicate with people is is nice and away from Facebook. is Facebook, so distracting.
Sacha Black 30:14
Oh my god, seriously.
Dan Willcocks 30:17
And, and yeah, the main ones I use to be honest, it’s it’s that simple.
Sacha Black 30:23
Well, I think that’s a brilliant tip. Also everybody just turn off Facebook or use, you know, like freedom software or so i think i use self control because I literally get nothing done. Yeah, I know. I’m like, Oh, I must go in, you know, post in my facebook group that and then I’m like, Fuck, it’s an hour later. What happened to the last hour,
Dan Willcocks 30:44
I’m becoming more and more conscious of it. But I’ll I know that I’ll be going there for a specific purpose to send a message to someone or just to check something. And then five minutes later, I feel myself having missed time and sitting there going, what did I come to do? Yes.
Sacha Black 30:58
That is pretty disciplined. I now just have to I’m trying to implement a new schedule where I do not go on social media until after 12 o’clock. So I do kind of deep work in the morning. And yeah,
Dan Willcocks 31:11
I did once research, why I say research. So you’ve got they had a product come out that was called the free right traveler, which is the little people to the tiny screen. Yeah, it’s portable. There’s no internet, it’s just it’s a word system. But the minute I saw the price tag I was like nah fuck that, because it was 450 pounds. And I was like, I could just, you know, smash out the Wi Fi chip in my laptop.
Sacha Black 31:36
Bit aggressive. But you know…
Dan Willcocks 31:36
You could buy, like a 200 pound laptop and just like break the part that lets you communicate with everyone else. And then you have the same system. But
Sacha Black 31:45
yeah, it’s funny. I was interviewing Dean Wesley Smith for the Alliance conference the other day, and he was telling me that he actually purposefully brought another computer and just, you know, got rid of the internet on it. And there’s no other programs other than his writing software. That is it. And I was like, Yeah, I should probably do that.
Dan Willcocks 32:07
It makes sense. I mean, separating, because that’s that’s the problem is everything is so connected on that one machine, it’s the same with your phone, I’ve done it before where I’ve cleaned my phone from stuff and then suddenly been like, actually, I need to access my bank, I need to do that. But if you have a separate something for creation, then your mind automatically connects that with creation. And again, this comes back into like the habits and the productivity stuff I’ve been looking into. But yeah, if your mind is used to go into Facebook, on one computer, that’s what it’s gonna want to do automatically, and you’ll find yourself doing it and then you hate yourself
Sacha Black 32:39
classical, classical conditioning or the Skinner’s opera dog or whatever it was, you know, but with the bell that it is about, you know, trading habitually, what what is your morning routine or your morning ritual? And Okay, last question. This is the rebel author podcast. So I want you to tell me, about a time you are a rebel.
Dan Willcocks 33:02
Okay, so either how rebellious this is, but this is this is my experience is something I’ll be completely honest with at the start of my start my writing journey. So part of what got me in back into writing because I say back into I, I’ve always loved writing, I was an English sort of major throughout University. And but I’d never seen myself actually pursuing writing as a proper thing in the beginning, I never thought I’d that was never like something else at 100% trying to achieve. And obviously very, very thankful I’m here now. And I ended up joining a writers group locally 2013 2014, after I left uni, I was missing sort of the English vibe. And the writer presenters, it was nice, it was sort of about 12/15 people in the back of a public meet up once a month. And it was very much a case of people there who most of them were poets, a few of them wrote a short story. Some of them were, I’m trying to speak with I’ll try not to say name names, but some people were.
Sacha Black 33:58
*cough name names*
Dan Willcocks 34:01
We’ve had experience of writing in the past, and were up up their own arse, and a few people who are kind of new that we’re just trying to like, learn the ways and just and just be around other creators. And it was it was honestly fantastic to sit with these people. And to be around people that were trying to that were just just have that energy that I was looking for. And what we did was every 15 minutes, someone would put an exercise forward, we’d write a 15 minutes, we go around the circle, read back what we’d written, no critiquing, because obviously, most writers groups, they have critiquing moments, but this was more just a chance to create and share what you created. And after I’d been there for about, I mean, I was going constantly for about a year and a half or so I made some really good friends. And they cheered on my side sort of self publishing, and like i say most of them were poets and it got to a point where it was almost derisive how they sort of look at you and us because I started to write faster, which meant that by that 15 minutes, I have sort of two pages. Like this story that I just like spam out did not saying it’s good. Did I start out, and you know, we’d read those and the other guys would sort of, like, start making quips and comments and that so I pretty much just said fuck them and and left and decided because they went from being a group that provided positivity and encouragement to suddenly being negative and almost jealous in a way of, sort of, they saw my books doing more and more and more. And I was just like, no, I love the people I’m still in contact with now, but overall, the whole group, I was just like, you know what, this isn’t beneficial for me. I can do more positive things for the people I’m working with. So yeah, fuck you.
Sacha Black 35:34
Brilliant. I love it. And I really kind of, you know, what’s the word? siminoff know, empathize. Wait, no, I don’t know what words? it’s far too late in the day. Yeah. Because, um, you know, I think the indie community is so supportive. And, you know, I’m yet to come across an arsehole like I really am and where are the arse holes? There are no arseholes. Everybody is lovely. So yeah, we don’t need that kind of bullshit. negativity. So yeah, more power to you for giving them the big Fuck you.
Dan Willcocks 36:06
I don’t know how rebellious that one was.
Sacha Black 36:09
hey, it’s a rebellion. It’s you gave them the birdie. It was a rebellion. Okay, so where can we find out more about you were tell us about the links to your podcast, your website, that kind of stuff.
Dan Willcocks 36:23
Yep. So pretty much everything that I do personally is on danielwillcocks.com and that’s Willcocks, which is WILLCOCKS the longest possible way. And everything that I’m doing with Hawk and cleaver is at www.hawkandcleaver.com. And yeah, just from a you can get all my books, you can get to the great rideshare podcasting get to the other stories, podcast. And yes, everything going on mostly mostly links. Oh, and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @Willcocksauthor.
Sacha Black 36:53
So amazing. Well, thank you everybody, for listening. And thank you, Dan, for giving me some of your time today. Yeah, you’re most welcome. I’m Sacha Black. You are listening to Dan Willcocks and this was the rebel author podcast.