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Let’s Get Together…

June 6, 2011

I’ve never written fiction collaboratively with anyone before.

Well, thats not strictly true, I’ve written non-fiction features with my husband and my son. In both cases, we bounced ideas off each other, talked out what the articles needed, but I did the final write ups. But it’s not a process I enjoyed and I can’t imagine I’d like it any better in fiction.

I’d  hate seeing my words deleted and replaced by someone else’s (not least because they’d probably say the things much better than I did!) I’m far too nice to fight my own corner, but I’d be moaning like nobody’s business about the injustice of my words being rejected in favour of my partner’s.

I guess if I had to write with someone, I’d choose John Le Carre or Colin Dexter, and I’d sit there watching and learning and probably not putting any words on paper at all!

How about you, do you collaborate on writing fiction? Who would your dream writing partner be?

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5 Comments
  1. June 6, 2011 12:09 am

    I can’t do it. I get irritated way too easily, and I’d eventually give up and go watch TV. My attention span suffers horribly when I’m not in control. Lol.

    If I HAD to, though… Mercedes Lackey. Love her. <3

  2. June 6, 2011 2:52 am

    I wrote a story once with another author. It was a major fun. We weorked primarily with GDocs. First we focused on the outline typing with four different font colors (one, for me to werite plot suggestion, the other for my comments, and different colors for her) and at one point it looked like a mad scientist plan to take over the world. But it served us well and helped to ensure that we had the same idea of where we wanted to go and how we wanted to get there.

    After that we were writing (we called it tagging). And it wasn’t so much each of us writing a scene and passing the torch. Each wrote as much as she felt like, then the other took over. Sometimes I wrote 500 words in a day, sometimes just pushed as little as 100. But my co-author was always there to pick up where I left off. It was a great experienced and we managed to finish the story in no time.

  3. June 6, 2011 7:35 am

    I think you should give writing with a partner another try, especially in fiction. It doesn’t HAVE to be a case of “my words or his/her words”. There are many different ways to do things. Try this:

    1. You each start a story (different stories may be easier, though you could work from the same prompt or conceptual idea).
    2. Write one chapter/section of your stories, then swap.
    3. Now, each of you write the NEXT chapter/section of the other’s story.
    4. Repeat as necessary.

    Look at it as a writing exercise, as a game, as something to do on a rainy day… whatever. But don’t look at it as a competition or as a “he’s better than I am” kind of thing. I’ve had tons of fun writing in this kind of round-robin fashion. Who knows… you may come up with a masterpiece!

    I am currently collaborating on a stageplay. It’s a lot of fun working together but it’s frustrating, too. I think I get most frustrated because I’m absolutely certain my co-author is frustrated with me and my “quirks” as a writer. For example, I am not a planner, but he tends to be. It’s hard for me to plan things out because I ask too many “okay, but why?” questions and I get stalled out by them. When I just write by the seat of my pants, there’s no time for those questions.

    We compromised on the planning “issue” in that we built a high-level scene-by-scene outline which has some plot ideas in it. The only thing that is “required” in each scene is the ending point — since we’re each tackling different scenes at the same time, knowing where the previous scene left the story makes it a lot easier to know how to write sunsequent scenes. But because we didn’t define out the details of each scene, I’m free to write in whatever manner I feel fit, so long as I, ultimately, get the characters where they need to be at the end of the scene.

    The biggest trouble we’ve had at this point is finding time to actually write. It’s bad enough when one of us has a work-related deadline or project going on, but when both of us have one AND when both of us have responsibilities to another show that is going on as well, it’s become darn near impossible to make progress on the script.

    As for finding time to work on it… that’s still a work in progress. We have been meeting up on weekends to write, but largely that’s the only time we’ve been able to do it. I think we’re going to end up taking some days off from work to meet our deadlines. Life really kind of tried to derail this project.

  4. June 6, 2011 12:45 pm

    I’ve written a collaboration only once before. For the most part, I enjoyed it. But it was beginner’s luck, I think. I can’t imagine collaborative writing going that smoothly with anyone else. It was nice, though. We were both passionate about the idea and we had similar tastes so approving chapters was never a problem. But the first chapter we did struggle with. We weren’t sure who should write it so we just both wrote it and decided whose was better and went with that. One of the reasons why I think it went smoothly to begin with was because we had an idea of a love triangle. I wrote one character in relation to the love interest and she wrote the other. Eventually we dropped the idea a little later, though. School and work got in the way, that sort of thing. But it was still nice while it lasted.

    I’m not really sure who my dream collaborator would be… Maybe Carlton Mellick III. I like to think we have a similar style and humor so it would work pretty well.

  5. June 6, 2011 4:06 pm

    I’m an idea guy, lots of ideas, strong opinions, but i think I’m a louzy writer, would have loved to co-write with my mirror image, and I now think thats how many succesful writer partnerships worked.

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