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More Than The Sum Of Its Parts

June 2, 2011

All this month you’ll be hearing about the benefits and perhaps even some pitfalls of collaborative writing. I’ve been lucky to have been a part of a few collaborative projects. Last year, like a few others here on Write Anything, I took part in a collaborative project as part of Chinese Whisperings, writing a story for The Yang Book. Chinese Whisperings anthologies are unique, collaborative anthologies published by eMergent Publishing. I read the first anthology The Red Book and was utterly blown away by it. I was honored when asked to participate in the next anthology.

I won’t lie; the prospect of participating intimidated the hell out of me. At the time I was a regular participant in the weekly and rapidly growing #fridayflash movement. Through that amazing community of writers, I met and came to admire many who participated weekly. I hold their work to be amongst the best of the community, so when their names started being announced as fellow participants, well as I said, it intimidated the hell out of me.

For me this is where collaborative writing really shines. Not intimidation, but the chance to work with individuals whom you look up to. It still amazes me that the writers I look up to also enjoy reading my stories. It goes without saying that I learned so much from them. Their abilities still impress me and I’m always thrilled when I hear of their successes.

I remember reading the proof of The Yang Book and thinking to myself how it is so amazing what can be accomplished when like minds come together to focus on a common goal. Until then I always thought of my writing as a solo endeavor. Sure I had beta readers and editors, but the control was always mine; win, lose or draw, it fell to me. With Chinese Whisperings, the work of my fellow writers raised mine up and hopefully, I raised theirs in return.

Since that time I’ve been involved with another exciting collaborative project based on the classic children’s Choose Your Own Adventure books. Choose Your Online Adventures  is a large and exciting project utilizing the skills of several writers and editors spanning the globe. The logistics alone for such an undertaking are staggering. I don’t see how a project like this could be accomplished without it being a collaborative effort. The adventures, a time traveling crime story and an old-fashioned Western who-done-it are in the final stages of being edited and readied for publication. The stories are unique for many reasons, the biggest being that when all is said and done, the reader will have a unique reading experience each time they read the stories. No small feat.

Both of these projects required a lot of my time but for me, it was worth it to be a part of something bigger than what I would have been able to accomplish on my own. I’m sure it’s been suggested already but I’ll say it again; try to join a collaborative project if for nothing else then for a chance to work alongside someone you admire.

Leave a comment and let us know what collaborative projects you are involved or have been involved in.

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3 Comments
  1. julietwilson permalink
    June 2, 2011 2:04 am

    Interesting article, I’ve never collaborated with another writer, i find it easier to collaborate with artists from other disciplines – I’ve worked with a film maker who made a film of one of my poems, I’ve also collaborated with a musician who composed music inspired by some of my poems and then we recorded me reading the poems over the music. Another musician has set one of my poems to music as part of a musical sequence that involves poetry from a range of poets. I’ve also recently been approached by artists who want to include some of my poetry in their exhibitions.

    Juliet
    Crafty Green Poet
    http://craftygreenpoet.blogspot.com

  2. June 3, 2011 4:30 am

    great article Chris. I’m so glad to have been part of collaborative works with you. Collaboration is one of those big scary things many artists are afraid of, but once explore -see that like you – it can expose you to a bigger world and experiences than you may have by yourself.

    Here’s to many more collaborative works with the amazing folk at WA

  3. June 3, 2011 6:49 pm

    One of the most exciting collaborative projects I participated in was SPARK (http://www.getsparked.org/), where writers and artists swap an original work, and each responds in their respective field. Artists interpret your writing with original works that range from watercolors to digital creations. Writers study the artwork and create an original story. It’s a 10-day challenge that I plan on doing again very soon…

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