Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Embarking on a Joint Project

When it comes to my writing, I like to try new things. A new genre. A new voice. A new strategy. Writing has been an adventure, and I want to keep it that way.

My newest challenge: a joint project. A writer friend, Christine Steendam, and I were bantering back and forth on Facebook messenger, and we stumbled across an idea that gave us both pause. “I think there’s a novel in there.” And then, “We should write it together.” The idea was exciting enough that I basically said, “Heck, yeah. Let’s do it!”

Christine and I write very types of books. I write mostly YA speculative fiction, and she writes adult western romances and historical fiction. The project we’ve committed to takes us both out of our comfort zones to do something different than either of us has done before.

But, how do we do this? How do we co-write a book?

I have no idea. We decided to just dive in and get started. One evening, we got together to do some plotting. Our supplies: poster paper, various coloured markers, and red wine. We brainstormed. We outlined characters and plotted and world built. We walked away that evening with a loose road map for our novel.

I had an idea for an opening scene, so I sat down and wrote it, then sent the document off to Christine. She read, then picked up where I left off. I’m super excited about what we’ve written so far. Our word count sits at just over 5,000 and now we feel it’s time to meet together again and discuss the next few scenes.

How will this all work out? We’re not sure yet. I plan to give OA readers updates as we go. It will be a learning experience for all of us.


Have you co-written a book? Do you have any advice for first-timers like us?

1 comment:

  1. I've written a couple with someone else. The first one, a horror novella, he wrote part one, I wrote part two, my story a sequel to his. Pretty simple. The second, another horror novella, we did together. He wrote some, I wrote some, back and forth until we were done. We then took turns editing the manuscript, that joint effort helping merge our voices, which was our goal: write with one voice. An editor then edited the whole thing outside of us.

    In terms of any planning, all we did was a phone call or two to discuss the overall plot. The rest we left up to each other, part of the challenge being you had to pick up where the other person left off regardless of what direction they took it in.

    Was a lot of fun.

    My advice would be not to overthink it and just write the joint venture as if writing your own thing in terms of the freedom that entails.

    The other cool part is writing to outdo the other guy. Who can come up with the cooler scene? The better turn of phrase? The more clever twists and turns? It's one-upsmanship, but a healthy one that can only improve the work as a whole.

    Come publication, the advantage is you've now doubled your marketing team and, ideally, will move more copies as a result.

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