Discussion in 'Writer's Lounge' started by Jackie, 18 Feb 2018.

  1. Jackie

    Jackie Member

    Has anyone here ever co-authored before? I've written a few shorter works on my own, but find the task of writing a novel to be both alluring and daunting. I've tried to work on my idea for a novel with a couple of friends, but it turned into them either accepting or rejecting my ideas, or they would give me notes like, "I think that's a little cliche. Maybe you should add a spin on that." Basically, it was always me putting up new ideas. I'm wondering if this happens often in co-writing ventures or if my mistake has been choosing close friends who, while creative, have never written anything before.
  2. Angel

    Angel Munificent Critic

    I have often wonder if co-authoring was either one person has all the ideas and the others provide critique or extra content, or if they take two separate parts to the novel and then combine them afterwards.

    It is not something I have really seen in Indie fiction, which tends to be far more about one person's ideas that they are trying to get down on paper and the help they really need is far more about crafting the story, not having those ideas in the first place.

    The only author pair I can recall that seemed to really be a partnership of equals was Pratchett and Gaiman for Good Omens, but I believe they wound up playing out certain of the roles.

    The few times I have tried it, it has been along those lines, taking a part and running with it, working together with others to fashion the story that works for all, instead of trying to swap chapters for all the characters. I think if you are working with friends then it can become all too easy to slip into the roles of author and editors especially if they have never written before and perhaps and unsure of what is expected from them.
    Jackie likes this.
  3. Jackie

    Jackie Member

    I used to assume it was the latter, but given what you said about what Indie authors really need help with the most, the former makes more sense.

    I couldn't even recall a partnership of equals, so kudos to you for knowing one! I'll have to see if I can find any information out there about their writing process.

    Did you enjoy working with co-authors or would you rather write independently? What kind of works did you write with others?

    You're right. It has been too easy to slip into those roles with my friends. I suppose that's my fault for not choosing someone with at least some writing experience. Although to be fair, they have helped me fine-tune my ideas and storylines.
  4. jessica

    jessica Active Member

    If it works like group projects in class:rolleyes::oops: I don't know if I'd ever have the patience:silent:. Who decides how the plot goes?
  5. Jackie

    Jackie Member

    That's a really good comparison, Jessica. I used to get so frustrated with group projects because I would end up doing all of the work. Maybe these sorts of things just aren't good for my personality type. I don't consider myself a "take charge" kind of person but, looking back, I might need to reconsider the possibility.
  6. Kindler

    Kindler Active Member

    If you are a born do-er, then the hardest thing about working in a group is trying not to get everyone to work to your timescales or convincing them that they really should do the work sooner instead of five minutes before any deadline.

    Have you considered having one person write a chapter and the others assist; then the next person takes a go and so on.
  7. Jackie

    Jackie Member

    You're right. I think that is one of my biggest problems. I guess I could always try to learn some patience. I hadn't really considered that option, but that sounds like it might be a good way to go. It's at least worth a shot! Thank you for the suggestions!
  8. tirial

    tirial IT fixer extraordinaire

    I don't think it would work for me. I tend to be a write-as-it-comes-to-me type, so I'd be sitting in a cafe, shushing my co-authors for distracting me!

    This doesn't always work out well, on the legal front because of rights, so those need to be settled before going into this sort of thing. Like Black Trillium - three authors who hated each other by the end and wrote conflicting sequels [strike]killing off[/strike] featuring each other's characters without talking to each other. Roger Rabbit sequels were pretty much killed when the two copyright owners fell out.

    With Indies it seems to be slightly different, since there's rarely as much money at stake, and with a personal stake in it, people should be keener to make it work. I suspect it still ends up with one person doing most of the work though.
  9. Jackie

    Jackie Member

    I hadn't even considered the legal problems that could arise because, as you said, there really isn't that much at stake with the majority of Indie novels (although I'm sure we all love to imagine that we'll be the exception). It's hard for me to imagine how someone wouldn't end up doing the majority of the work as well. I just wasn't sure if I was thinking creatively enough or not!
  10. Zelda

    Zelda Member

    I don't think I would ever be able to co-author with someone. My inspiration hits in sudden, intense spurts. I will go all in for days and then peter out. Then I'll return to it in a month and do the same thing. My sporadic work ethic - if it can even be called that - really wouldn't be conducive to working in a group. I also get very attached to my characters. I would be uncomfortable letting someone take the reins and write for a character that I've become very familiar with in my head. Does that make any sense? However, if it was done in an RP style sort of way, where we got to play off one another's characters, then I might be able to do it...as long as we could agree on where things should head. Ultimately though, I think it would end up being too frustrating - for both myself and my co-author - for me to ever even try.
  11. Angel

    Angel Munificent Critic

    The hardest part is agreeing on where to take the story and which characters get precedence over others. Everyone wants their favourite character to be the main focus of the story. It takes a brave person to allow their characters to be secondary to the others.
  12. Jackie

    Jackie Member

    That makes sense to me, @Zelda. Our characters become our friends, for better or worse, once we've spent enough time with them. I think @Angel brought up another challenging aspect of co-authoring and characters; everyone might have a different opinion about which character should be the main focus...or even the one who wins an argument, who comes up with a big revelation, who comes off as the most likable, etc.
  13. Kindler

    Kindler Active Member

    Would it help if you came up with a loose synopsis in advance so you know what is going to happen. But what you are collaborating on is the journey the characters make.

Share This Page

Site Sponsors