Saturday, March 3, 2012

Collaboration- How to Write a Novel with a Co-Author

How do we do it?

Maggie: After the outlining is done, we open up a new Google document. This is how we both see in real time what the other is writing. Sounds a little daunting, right? In a way, it is like having someone watch over your shoulder as you type. But it’s great for throwing out ideas, watching those ideas get shot down, and sometimes seeing those ideas lead to better ones. We write together and make jokes as we go along. It’s a fun process.

Julie:  You should see the outtakes doc! We’ve been using Google Docs since we started writing this novel.  Back in the day, the program was so simple it didn’t allow comments.  So we would have to put notes in parenthesis to get ideas across to each other.

Maggie:  And sometimes those comments would get left behind. It gave us a good laugh while editing.

Julie:  Or sometimes we’d rely on chatting via Instant Messenger.  Fairly recently, Google added the capability to write comments in the margins, which is a huge help.

Click on the picture to read.
Maggie: Being able to communicate with each other in a timely fashion, saves us a lot of trouble. Especially when it comes to questions we have or general cries of help.  

How we divide the work.

Maggie:  I have read that authors collaborate on books by each writer taking a set number of chapters or character perspectives. Julie and I do things a little differently.

We both know our cast of characters well. We’re responsible for our own set of characters to ensure their dialogue and behavior remains consistent.

Julie: Of course, we often write for each other’s characters! But each of us has the final say over what certain characters do and say, and how they’d say it.

Maggie:  We use font colors to distinguish between who wrote what. If I agree with Julie’s green, I turn her font black to “accept” the changes or additions. We are each other’s editor. By the end, our writings are intertwined to the point where we really do not know who wrote what. Because we both did. Sentence by sentence.

Julie:  And together we came up with a better story than I would’ve written on my own.

Are you a co-author?

We’d love to hear about your experiences and the process you go through when writing with your partner. If you’d like to be featured in a guest post, please email and we’ll be in touch. Thank you!

Meanwhile, look for more on collaboration in the weeks to come!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Do you have a question for us? Post in the comments or email!