Ron's post got me thinking--not about cats who are pains in the butt, though I believe that is something that is going around and I highly suggest everyone get theirs vaccinated--but about buddies. Writing demands buddies, I think, otherwise it's just you in the attic dressed in white using excessive em dashes. I wrote Shadow Thieves with a buddy--my friend Laura Ruby, who was writing her own fantasy at the time. I'm not sure how it happened; we just sent each other our first chapters, and then our second, and so on. It was my first time writing for kids, and getting someone to say, with every chapter--This is great! I love [THIS BIG THING]. You might want to look at this [VERY TINY INCONSEQUENTIAL THING THAT IN NO WAY MEANS EVERYTHING YOU'RE DOING ISN'T AWESOME]. Keep going!--is the sort of thing that keeps you going to your keyboard every morning. And maybe even leaving the attic every once in a while.
That was my favorite writing experience, because--even though we never talked about the stories and would happen--I felt like I was writing my book with someone. And it was nice to write those pages knowing someone would read them. You have to find the right person, of course, the one who knows just how to fill in those brackets. We've never quite managed to do that again. We wrote our sequels at the same time, too, but mostly then just wrote each other back and forth about how much we wanted to kill ourselves. But even then, what we were really saying is: You are not alone.