Friday, November 13, 2009


Samantha and I had lunch together today to start brainstorming an idea that came to us this morning. We’ve had the notion before to work on a book together and while that original idea I’m sure will see daylight this new idea has us all a twitter.

There are a lot of writers out there who work together; Lauren Dane and Megan Hart; Anthea Lawson is a husband and wife team; PC Cast is a mother/daughter team and I know there are others I’m just not thinking of. They are all successful, both independently (though I think that Anthea Lawson has only written together) and as a team. Anthea (the wife) spoke last weekend at my RWA chapter meeting. Someone asked her the question of how they work together. She said that her husband is really good at plotting so they come up with an outline of a section and then she writes it. He’ll read it and suggest changes and they go from there.

I think that to collaborate you have to draw on each other’s strengths and be mindful of the not so strong points that each person has. This morning via email Sam was really good at coming up with great plot detail that will make our story pop. Plotting is her strength. I’m pretty good at coming up with something out of nothing (or at least very little) so I’ll be able to fill in the blanks.

I’m excited to work on this project with her. Have you ever thought of collaborating with someone? Have you ever written with someone before? What advice would you give a pair that’s thinking of hitting the blank page together?


Andrea said...

I'd love to hear your idea. Sam and I started something years ago-in college?- but we didn't finish the story. Someday I'd like to try writing with someone again.

I think the main advice I have is to be sure you are both on the same page as to how you're going to tackle your story. I.e., are you going to outline together at first and then alternate chapters? Or will one of you write the chapter and the other one fill it out?

Sheila said...

My one experiment with a collaboration was with a friend from high school. We were going to write a story as letters sent back and forth between two Victorian-era sisters. It lasted for about four letters ... then, for some reason, she got intimidated when the last one I sent her was 23 pages long -- single spaced -- and quit. {blushes} Hey, what can I say, I was enthusiastic about the project! I did go on to finish my half of the story, and am contemplating whether it can ever be revised into anything, but mostly it just sits there.

I'd say it's probably important to outline your expectations up front, and to keep communicating through the entire process. I don't think there are any hard and fast rules as far as having one person outline and one person fill in, or working on alternate chapters. I think it's just important to know who will be doing what, and when.

It actually sounds like fun. I have a couple of friends I'd like to try to collaborate with -- one who doesn't like action scenes (my favorites!), and one who can do lovely characters and settings, but then doesn't know what to do to get the plot rolling.

Something to contemplate once November is over...