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June 28, 2011


Sharing thoughts, ideas – working together.  Creating something from two or minds instead of one.

I’ve seen both the good and the bad side of collaborations with the first idea that you must have a clear vision of what you hope to accomplish.  What’s the purpose of the project and what’s the future of the project?  Those are very important questions to ask.  If you’re going to be writing something that involves money, it’s important to have some kind of contractual agreement in place.  The contract should state in clears (1) the rights to the body of work for both authors (2) the length of time the rights are in place (3) the monetary split between the authors and (4) any other necessary details.

Now, sure, a contract?

That may seem a little overboard if you’re talking about, say, a short story or a smaller project, but it’s still a good idea to have to something in writing to make it well known between the two authors about their rights.

I may be jumping the gun to the more serious part of collaboration here mainly because a friend of mine had been recently upset become someone they had worked with in the past took their original idea and used it to write a book and publish that book.

However there are the plenty of good that can come from collaboration.  If paired with the right person you will two sets of ideas that should mesh together and really create something fun.

One of the keys to collaboration is setting goals and understanding who is to do what and when.  It’s funny how these months are working for me because I just got done working on a collaboration project with a friend.  This friend I’ve never met face to face, only via Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Our writing styles are different but our passion for writing seemed to matched, along with the genres we enjoyed.  When the chance came up we both jumped at it.  And for me, it was a pleasure working with the person.  The communication was spot on, the deadlines were met, and most of all – we had fun.  We bounced ideas off each other, came up with a plan, and executed that plan.  (And the best part of this was that the story we worked on was accepted into an upcoming anthology!)

Communication is always an important factor but even more so with collaborating with another writer.  You have to be able to “be together” even when you’re not.  And this can be problematic when time zones come into play – looking at my watch right now, it’s 3:24pm here in Pennsylvania but if I were talking to a friend in, say, Australia, it’s 5:24am tomorrow morning.    Thankfully we have emails, Tweets, messages, and even Skype to keep this big old world smaller than ever.

The communication also has to be an open communication meaning each party isn’t afraid to speak.  Each person should have the ability to speak their mind – what they like, what they don’t like, suggested edits, titles, etc.  Again, I’ll go back to something I mentioned earlier – FUN.  Collaboration should be fun.  I look at it as a chance for you to pair up with another great writer and explore.  From a readership standpoint it’s a plus because your partner’s readers (those who may not read you) will get a chance to read you and the same goes for your readers with your partner.  It’s a way of branching out to something different something, something new.

It’s take effort, sure, because you’re putting together two styles of writing.  But if done right – and you have FUN – the outcome is great.

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