Thursday, July 21, 2016

Collaborative Project: Rough Draft is Complete, So Now What?

Over the past few months, I've been working on a collaborative project with fellow author, Christine Steendam. We come from very different backgrounds in terms of our writing and styles--she writes western romances and historical novels, while I write speculative teen fiction.

We've now completed a rough draft of our top-secret project, a novella different from anything either of us has ever written. We did a little happy dance last week when the final chapter was completed on our rough draft.

But, now what? Do we go in and start editing each other's work? Both of us edit for others professionally, so we're on equal footing in that regards. But, as I stated, this is a rough draft. I really hate anyone seeing my rough drafts, which was probably the hardest part of this whole endeavor--knowing that she'll be reading that primordial ooze that passes for my rough draft.

After some discussion, we decided on our process:

  1. We will go through the document and work on a second draft of our own passages. 
  2. Once both of our passages are brought up to second draft status, we'll edit each other's work. 
  3. After revisions, we'll send it off to an outside editor.
  4. Once the editor's changes are employed, we will each take a turn doing a copy edit.
  5. When we feel it's ready, it'll go into format and from there each of us will do a proofread.

Because of the novella's genre and target audience, we plan to independently publish it, which will be a new venture for me as well.

So far, working collaboratively with another author has been a ton of fun and a great experience. Once the project is complete, I'll share what I've learned.

Have you ever co-written a novel? What sorts of challenges did you face? Do you have any great advice for me? I'd love to hear it.


Melinda Friesen writes novels for teens and is the marketing director at Rebelight Publishing Inc. Her YA dystopian novel, Enslavement has been shortlisted for a Willow Award. Enslavement's sequel, Subversion, is slated for a September launch.

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