Our Collaboration: The Beginnings

by Shawny Lou Miller

It all started on October 9, 2013. Two casual friends got together to discuss a church topic and ended up on a life-changing journey of collaboration.

We both remember the exact moment when serendipity struck. The lighting. The temperature in the room. What was said … and how it was said.

You know those moments in life when everything around you is so vivid. They become a snapshot in your mind that will never fade.


It was not planned but it was meant to be. Mikie and I only knew each other casually. When we met for pizza on October 9, 2013, it was to discuss “church stuff”. After dinner, I found myself taking a spontaneous tour of her newly built home and, before long, we were discussing our writing projects.

I clearly remember when I blurted, “I’m thinking about writing something a bit unorthodox; just don’t know how it will be received.”

Mikie, always attentive, turned to me thoughtfully, as we walked down the hallway, and asked, “What would it be about, if you’re comfortable telling me?”

I was unprepared to share the seed, which I’d held so close, yet the words were suddenly falling from my lips. It was as if I was on auto-pilot. When I saw the look on Mikie’s face, I knew something big had just happened. Color faded from her cheeks and she rubbed her arms as if trying to arouse circulation.

“I just got chills,” she said, as she proceeded to share with me an idea which had rested on her heart for so long. Similar concepts, kindred goals, and the realization that fate had just stepped into our lives.


When Shawny Lou told me her idea for a book, I got chills and looked her full in the face, stunned. I could not believe how similar her premise was to mine. An unusual concept I had secreted away in my psyche, wanting to develop it, planning on creating it into a screenplay, and yet unsure of how best to execute the provocative and controversial theme. I had told no one my idea. At that moment with Shawny Lou, I heard the heart of it spoken back to me.


Maybe it would be better to simply share some excerpts from our emails that followed that providential revelation…


(Email from Mikie, sent 10/11/13, 3:44 PM):

Hi Shawny Lou,

I enjoyed talking with you and Ed on Wednesday. And, amazingly, you’re a fellow-ette Writer! I definitely think this is a Holy Spirit connection kind of thing.

. . .

Let me know if you want me to read your children’s book, and give you feedback, or not. I’d be happy to! It sounds so good.

Also, let me know if you want to get together and talk about/collaborate on the … story. BTW, I do know someone, who wrote a script and then a friend wrote a book from it, which was published … The movie is in the works, as far as I know.

Anyway, I’m just excited about all this, and am praying for the Lord’s guidance.

. . .

Take care, Grace, peace, Mikie

(Oct. 15, 2013 a 11:13 AM, Shawny Lou Miller wrote:)

Hi Friend!

It was so nice to see you and Rod at church on Sunday.

I’ve been thinking so much about the fact that you are a writer. Truthfully, I had forgotten about that until we talked during our pizza together and you reminded me. I know God puts His people together for reasons and I have no doubt that you and I were brought together for reasons that may reach further than we realized when we first became friends.

I believe that you and I both have a mutual goal in writing; not to “preach”, but to honor God in our writing and reach others … who are struggling in this world so they can find hope and guidance and realize that there is a purpose for their lives and their current struggles.

I’m trying to get some time to re-review my children’s book this week and make some additional edits. Once I get a chance to do that, I would appreciate if you would take the time to look it over and give me your thoughts and suggestions. I don’t take critique personally and I know it will only make me a stronger writer in the end so please don’t hesitate to share  your thoughts with me once you read it.

I’ve been thinking a little bit about our … story concepts and I can see how our two concepts could actually blend together in an interesting manner. I would like for us to get together and chat about it more. Maybe we can have coffee together one of these mornings? At the very least, we can pray about it and discuss our concepts so we can decide if we want to move  forward with a collaboration or if we just want to be there to support each  other in our separate endeavors. Again, I have to believe that God put that difficult story topic on each of our hearts and brought us together for a reason. I also believe that we brought the topic up with each other that night for a reason because I have not shared that topic idea with anybody due to its infantile concept stages and also due to the controversial and uncomfortable topic. Who knows what might happen if we work together on this! I think we’d be doing God and ourselves an injustice if we didn’t at least pursue the idea a bit further!

(From Mikie, Oct. 17, 2013. 11:39 am)

I concur with EVERYTHING you said! 🙂 So excited to talk more with you writing-wise. God is so good. His timing is always perfect, and I love how He orchestrates bringing people together of like mind!


by Mikie DeLong Pyle

Three weeks later, we were sitting in my sun room brainstorming the plot, fleshing out the characters, and laying out the bones of our story. Shortly after,  Shawny Lou launched into writing the book, while I began to rough outline the screenplay.

In the midst of it all, we developed this blog with the desire to include our audience on our journey of working together, simultaneously, yet, individually, to create a story/book/screenplay.

And so, we came up with a name.

“2 Pen A Picture”.

“2” represents a homophone for:  to or two.

Two creative minds collaborating, developing a heartfelt story, working in two very different formats.

Shawny Lou, a book author, pens the story in novel-form. I, a screenwriter, pen the tale in script-form.

Both of us pen a picture, or pictures. Although a book is primarily read with our ears (we hear the author’s words), Shawny Lou writes cinematically in a visual way. A script is read with our eyes. Readers must see what they read. Scene after scene of moving pictures, a movie, plays in their head as they experience the story.

So that’s how it all began.

We titled our story/book/screenplay “Unsung Lyrics”.

We’re excited for you to join us on this adventure of collaboration.

Click on ‘”Unsung Lyrics'”  to read the synopsis, and “Book Excerpts” for a story passage.



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