The Val & Kit Mystery Series

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Skype Rocks, Even for the Low-Tech (and Dogs)

Writing novels with a partner has one tiny potential problem when one lives in Wisconsin and the other in Texas. These locations could seem as far away as the North Pole to the South. But our polar opposites vanished when we enjoyed our first writing session via Skype a couple of weeks after our biannual in-person visit in Wisconsin (where, as you may have read in our last blog post, we played more than we wrote). Now Roz is here to tell you: Skype rocks.

Okay, this is not news.  We could (make that SHOULD) have been doing this for years already, when gasoline was still under three bucks a gallon. But I have to be honest and admit that Patty, the brilliant techie of our duo, had to drag me kicking and denying into the Skype world. After the great success, I was embarrassed it had taken me so long to agree to it.

Nevertheless, I was now ready. My webcam securely hooked to the edge of my monitor, staring down at me like a third eye, I downloaded the Skype software and was ready to begin. The download was a breeze. First of all, it’s free, and so what if you have to go through a lot of gyrations to reject offers from several companies that promise to sweep your computer of bugs every one and a half seconds, plus clean up after itself? It’s free! Too bad it couldn’t promise to do the same for my kitchen.

After a couple of landline phone calls to each other to assure we were ready to go, Patty’s face miraculously filled my screen, almost life-size. It took several minutes of congratulating each other that everything appeared to be working correctly, and then we began to work in earnest.

We tightened our plot; we read aloud to each other, correcting the inevitable problems with dialogue and descriptions; and we did a lot of laughing, as we always do when we are “working.”

During the call, I happened to be dog-sitting my friend’s 15-year-old cocker spaniel, Bailey. Patty, who was at her daughter’s home in Green Bay at the time, was babysitting real children and also had custody of Hank, their gorgeous yellow Labrador.  Inevitably, Bailey and Hank wandered into view of the webcams. Hank barked loudly, but Bailey ignored him. To be fair, I should add that Bailey is almost totally deaf, and Hank’s vision wouldn’t qualify him as a seeing-eye dog,so I doubt they were able to appreciate the wonder of Skype as much as Patty and I did.

All in all, I was thrilled with the whole process. Definitely something we will do on a regular basis. Only problem is how to end the session. I just didn’t want to say goodbye.