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blog Writing as a Collaboration — What is Collaborative Writing?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by A. E. Lowan, Mar 30, 2019.

  1. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Staff Leadership

    A. E. Lowan submitted a new blog post:

    Writing as a Collaboration — What is Collaborative Writing?
    by A. E. Lowan


    This is Part 1 of our series on Writing as a Collaboration.

    As a speculative fiction writing team, the most common question we get asked, after, “where do you get your ideas?” is, “how does writing with three authors work?” Collaboration is not new in the speculative fiction world. Scan the shelves of your favorite bookstore and you’ll find many novels coauthored. From thriller giants Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child to fantasy staples Anne McCaffrey and Andre Norton, many authors have experimented or fallen in love with collaborative authorship.

    What is Collaboration?

    From two authors exchanging manuscripts for developmental editing to authors taking turns writing sections of a book, to full co-drafting, collaborative writing can take many forms, but at its heart collaboration is any joint writing venture where more then one author is involved in the process of bringing a novel from idea to the market.

    What are Some Benefits of Collaboration?

    One of the reasons some authors choose to collaborate is the belief that two (or more) heads are better than one. Worldbuilding and character development can get a great boost from drawing on the collected creativity and experiences of a team. Drawing on multiple worldviews as a story is developed is one way to add complexity to characters and their motivations.
    Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
  2. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

    A contract establishing expectations, rights and responsibilities can be a critical element in successful collaborations. Not only while the work is being written, but also through the publication process (either self-publishing and all that entails, or seeking an agent/publisher and subsequent publication). It can also establish what each writer owns and can use, moving forward, especially with a series where one of the partners looses interest in the project/world/series.
    Black Dragon likes this.
  3. Ewolf20

    Ewolf20 Minstrel

    I feel like the idea of collaboration is fine, just that my experiences with it soured me from ever doing again. I wouldn't mind doing collaborative writing but I found just having a brain storm buddy of suffice for me.
  4. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Staff Leadership

    Thank you for your question! It happens quite a lot, actually, as creative minds, no matter how alike, can tend to diverge. What we do is discuss each point of disagreement with an open mind, respect, and trust in each other, and eventually we will reach a consensus and be able to move on. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    How do you work with someone who moves at a different pace and quality? This has been a problem of mine in the past. Usually I work too slow, and the other persons come in short on quality, that it becomes difficult to establish a coherent finished product. Does that mean it's just a bad match or are there ways to get around the problems?
  6. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Staff Leadership

    There are ways to get around the issue. We have a collaboration made up of writers at different experience levels - two of us have been writing for longer than our third has been alive. What we do is play to our strengths and divide roles up among the three of us. Our younger member is still mastering her craft under our tutelage, but she is a developmental powerhouse with the ability to spin whole worlds in an afternoon. My wife is a remarkably gifted plotter and she also writes our non-fiction posts and deals with all of the marketing and publishing details. She designs absolutely beautiful books. And I'm The Drafter and do a little chatting on the side. :D

    While all of this is going on we are planning for the future, working on our younger member's craft by having everyone write short fiction and then editing it like mad to make sure the voices match. No one should be able to know who wrote what. We are also guiding the creation of another flagship fantasy series that our younger member will write under our supervision, so that when she is ready she'll really be able to spread her wings.

    This is why we highly recommend the ability to trust each other and communicate clearly. You have to be able to say to a less experienced writer, "I love your work and I think you have incredible potential, but I think we need to work a bit more on [fill in the blank]. I care about your development and I am more than happy to help you."
    TheCrystallineEntity and Devor like this.
  7. I'd find it hard to collaborate with other writers; however it's fine when writing lyrics as I have done.
    No doubt there will be many disagreements.

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