Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Writing Tip Tuesdays: What To Expect When Writing Collaboratively by David Powers King

Welcome to the first installment of Writing Tip Tuesdays!



Today we're lucky enough to be joined by co-author of the recently released fantasy novel Woven and ruler of The Cosmic Laire, David Powers King! I asked David to tell us about something that intimidates the heck out of me: co-writing. How do two writers create a single story?

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Nice lookin' fella, huh?
Ever since my debut novel with Michael Jensen, WOVEN, came out in January this year, one of the most frequently asked questions we've received is: what is it like to be collaborative authors? What is your process like? All fair questions. There is a stigma that writing collaboratively is difficult or impossible if the authors are unable to effectively work together. Breaking this mold by finding a working relationship with Michael has been a pleasant experience, but the difference does make for some adjustment compared to writing on your own.

First of all, you're not writing a story by yourself. There is another party involved. Another worldview. One might like this idea while the other really doesn't. So here's a good rule to remember: these impasses are perfectly fine and should be expected. A better rule to remember is that you can't let disagreements hang up your story. The show must go on. Talk it out until you find a solution, or something better than you both first thought.
Next on my reading list. Very excited.

Secondly, you have another author to rely on. In the same vain, working on a story together comes with its own support system. You'll have a critique partner, an alpha reader, beta reader, and a general supporter through the whole process, which has come in handy when a problem arises. An extra set of eyes can spot problems early on, making revisions a breeze later. 

Lastly (but not at all final), the experiences you can gain are invaluable. If drafting a successful manuscript has taught me anything, it's how to work with others and how to "get over myself." It has made working with professionals in New York an easier transition compared to how I may have conducted myself as a lone author. Because to succeed as a published author, you have to work, and work effectively, with others. Writing collaboratively can help develop this skill.

If anything else, communicate. Always have each other's back and stay on the same page. Who knows what kind of worlds and magic you can create with two heads instead of one.

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Was that great or what!?! Makes me want to try a collaboration. Seems like it could be very rewarding.

Please check back next week for a technique I use to get over creative rough patches. 

Also, if you want to get involved with Writing Tip Tuesdays, please shoot me an email at adamgaylordwrites gmail com.

We have great tips from a bunch more great writers coming up so stay tuned!

25 comments:

  1. I've never written a story with someone else, although I have one critique partner who I bounce ideas off at all stages of the process. Having someone with you the entire time would definitely be a plus!

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    1. I've never done it but it seems like something everyone should try. I imagine the success or failure of a collaboration has a lot to do with choosing the right partner.

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  2. This was a great post. I enjoyed hearing about the collaboration process, and it makes me think, in a way, of how I "use" beta readers. They are, in effect, helping me make "my" story better. I might not always agree with all of the feedback I get, but it does make me re-think and take a better look at the story. Thanks Adam, for having DPK on today! He's a fav of mine!

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    1. He's pretty great. And I see what you're saying. Beta readers are collaborators in their own right, aren't they?

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  3. Thanks for having me at your place, Adam! :)

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  4. This does make collaborating sound very appealing! You can help each other out when stuck, which is a massive advantage. And hopefully each other's strengths would make up for any weaknesses.

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    1. I'm sure it's a challenge but most good things are.

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  6. Excellent advice. Especially the getting over yourself, I need to do a bit of that. My hold up in a collaboration is that I feel like my brain can't go into 5th gear and just go where it wants. Or maybe I could and then delete it all if it doesn't work? Hmmm. Good ideas to ponder!

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    1. Yes, much to ponder. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Great post from David! Collaborative writing definitely seems like a rewarding challenge. I can see how communication would be key for something like this!

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  8. I'm also a co-author (of a memoir) and agree it can be a very interesting experience. Dave and Michael obviously figured out the right formula for them - and I agree - COMMUNICATION is the name of the game in this particular niche!

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    1. Co-author of a memoir? How's that work? Very interesting.

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  9. It's great to find a partner you can work so well with. I often argue with myself enough as it is, I can't imagine doing that with a co-author:)

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    1. I always think of writing as a solitary pursuit. But I guess it doesn't have to be.

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  10. I've never collaborated with anyone on a writing project, but I do bounce ideas off my family members fairly often. Communication is always key. :)

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    1. I usually don't share ideas with anyone until the story is about complete. I get scared at the idea of an idea being out in the world unchaperoned.

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  11. This was a very interesting interview and I enjoyed reading it. I've often wondered how two people mange to co-author a story. Do you plan the entire story before writing it so that you both know where it is headed . I imagine it requires a great deal of pre- draft plotting. You've made me realize the benefits. I can see how having an alpha reader, beta reader, critique partner and sounding board all in one would really enhance your story.

    I think that with the right co- author , the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages and you are right about learning to work with others. At some point, all authors will need to perfect this skill.

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    1. You bring up a good point. Co-authoring might require more outlining/planning than some folks are used to. Something to consider.

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  12. This was great! I've always marveled at people who can make writing collaborations work, but I can definitely see why the benefits could be worth it.

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  13. Great article! I'm in awe of you, David. I don't think I could co-write.

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    1. I also think it would be very challenging. I'd like to try it someday though.

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Love to get comments!!!