I was wondering if you’d ever done a collaborative work? If so, what’s your opinion on the best way to organize it? I thought it would be fun to work with someone on a story because they have a plotline that they’ve been working on, and I’ve got one that I think would go along well with it. I’m concerned about some of the characters I’m writing and whether or not my partner will be able to properly portray them. I don’t want to just give up on this as the story really sounds great with what we’ve come up with.
Good question. So I think the most important part of a collaboration is communication. When the two of you are working on the same page. Make sure that s/he knows what you’re hoping to accomplish and how your character is written. If after all of that, you’re still worried, there are a few options;
- Fix the character in editing. You’d be surprised how much changes when you go through and edit a book. A lot gets changed and in some cases even some of the themes are altered. This will be a really great place to go through and make the desired changes.
- Have him/er write his characters and you write yours or have them tell you the scenario and you write the characters into it.
Collaboration is not easy given that you’ve got two people with likely very different sets of ideas of how a story is going to play out. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns and if things get too bad, then feel free to walk away. Though I would do this only as a last resort, especially since you both may have to abandon the story and said characters in their entirety. I’ve heard accusations of plagiarism come from failed collaborations, so you do need to be careful.
At the same time though, YOU need to be able to give a little. An idea may sound good to you, but may not make sense or mesh well in the story. You need to be prepared to take constructive criticism as it comes and be ready to change something as needed. You cannot stonewall someone and expect the collaboration to be successful.
I’ve only done one and admittedly, it didn’t go well. So the likelihood of me doing it again is minimal. I’m not against the idea if its someone I can work well with, but too often I wind up butting horns.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with admitting that. If you don’t work well writing with another person, that’s perfectly fine. You don’t have to write with someone else, you can write your own story and be done with it.
The way we did it was that I’d write one story and he’d write the next one… unfortunately he took the story in a direction which was the polar opposite of where I wanted it to go. There was no give and take and after being stonewalled, I refused to write another piece for the series. I was done.
So hopefully this helps you a little. Be vocal, but also be willing to give a little in the exchange. Writing with another person can be an interesting experience if you’re both on the same page… or at least in the same chapter.
Readers, what do you think? Are collaborations not worth the trouble or is there something rewarding about them? Share your experiences with Julia in the comments!
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I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
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