Friday, August 15, 2014

Collaborations: Unique Pros and Cons

I've had the fun of working on a project with my sister who writes mainly fantasy. Together we're writing a Young Adult Sci-fi novel, working title TEMPOR.

Here's the just-for-fun cover I made for it (clearly I'm no cover artist):

Our last work on it was in 2013. My lovely sister then got preoccupied with something else awesome... my nephew! As life settled in and settled down, she recently contacted me with some new material for our book and I was elated! Except that I just had a baby myself and we're not quite settled in and settled down yet. (I like to give it six months until the new family dynamic feels comfortable for everyone.) 

So here's my pros and cons list for collaborations:

Exciting brainstorming sessions
Two heads for solving difficult plot and character problems
Built-in secondary editor
Two distinct wordprints to aid in different character voices

Difficulty coordinating schedules
Disagreements in vision (plot, character, setting, etc.)
Disagreements in editing (commas, LOL)

Though it's a challenge, overall I'd have to say that collaborating on a writing project is enjoyable, rewarding, and a fresh way to look at your own craft. It's helped me to understand elements of story and characterization from someone else's point of view. Since my sister and I read in different genres, overlapping in the fantasy/paranormal genre, we come at plot problems in slightly different ways. It's been an education so far and I'm excited to continue... in a few months when my newborn isn't so newbornish. :)

Have you ever collaborated on a novel or book of poetry or comic book? What's the best lesson you've learned out of your collaborations?


  1. It's been so fun! Take all the time you need, I have other projects to work on in the mean time.

    1. Very excited about your other projects, too! It's so fun having a sister writer who is actually my sister. :p

  2. No real advice on collaboration - but I love the cover. I would pick it up based on that.

    1. Thanks, Marlene! Maybe I can write a follow-up post with more advice when the project is finished. For now I can suggest setting boundaries from the beginning so each author knows which part is hers and doesn't overstep or take control of the whole project. From the beginning, we've known which characters each of us would voice, and while we collaborate/brainstorm together about character development, the voicing author has final say or veto power for her characters. So far this has helped us to respect each other's artistic choices and vision and keep from stepping on each other's toes. It's a delicate dance if you've got two passionate writers, but so fun and worthwhile.


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