writers collaboration

Discussion in 'Writing' started by NOEL, Aug 18, 2001.

  1. NOEL

    NOEL New Member

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    my question is simple how do writers collaborate on writing a story . do they each do a chapter or does one come up with the idea and leave it to the other to fill in the gaps ? i really want to know how it works ? could someone please tell me . thx
     
  2. Erebus

    Erebus Keeping The Equilibrium

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    I guess this may be up to the individuals concerned, Noel. I'm not aware that there's any set way for a collaboration. Sometimes, someone has the idea but uses someone else to actually do the writing, and so you have a collaboration or sorts here. There's ghost writers as well, but that's something entirely different, of course. But, I guess it relates more to an exchange of ideas that are developed by each writer, that together, make for a stronger tale.

    As for the actual mechanics involved in a collaboration, ie, who writes what chapter etc, I really have no idea, but suspect it's probably different in each case.

    [This message has been edited by erebus (edited August 18, 2001).]
     
  3. An8el

    An8el New Member

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    Are you starting a collaboration with someone?
    I'd read examples of collaborations that already exist. I love to read them after getting very familiar with at least one of the writers. Zelazny comes to mind, because his style was so identifiable. He wrote collaborations with lots of different people too. It becomes obvious how Z. seems to do all the detail in a book...or when trademark "Z" characters appear.
    I'd say how you divied the story up would depend what each writer's strengths are. But I can't get our of my mind the endless regular nights with the pizza and drinks hashing out the plot details...or the excitment of getting the manuscript back after handing the newest "chapter" back and forth for the other person to add in their contributions.
    Speaking of which...why don't we start a collaborative "group story" since lots of us are writers here? You know, where someone starts a story and gives it a title and the next person writes the next paragraph or page... that might be a fun romp for us.

    Guess we could do that in this post way...but it would be cool to put something special that any of us could edit in another section....
    ...whadaya say erebus?
    Franis
     
  4. Erebus

    Erebus Keeping The Equilibrium

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    Not sure about the mechanics of a post where everyone could edit each other's submissions, Franis. I don't think the board works that way for security reasons (I will check with Dag though).

    But the idea of a sort of progressive story could be fun, and I guess it could be done under its own topic here in the Writing section, with folks who are interested adding to or continuing the story by posting in the normal manner.
     
  5. daigoro

    daigoro I'm the law... Staff Member

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    You're right in that the board’s security mechanisms will prevent people from editing each other’s posts, but that shouldn’t prevent you from doing a “one chapter each” type of thing.

    Some members tried to do this a while ago, back when the discussion forum was quite new, and at that time it just died away, but I guess it would have a better chance of success now with more members to keep it going [​IMG]
     
  6. Aleya

    Aleya New Member

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    I read that in Raymond E. Feist's latest book (Honoured Enemy) with Willaim Forstchen, Forstchen wrote the first draft of the book and Feist edited and reworked it a little.

    I've only just started it, so I can't really comment on whether it worked. I'm sure it will bring a freshness to a series which was IMHO getting a little stale, but at the same time I can't decide whether he really deserves to have his name blazed all over it if he just did the edits. I mean, shouldn't he just have permitted Forstchen to work in Midkemia for a cut of the profits and stayed well clear?

    To me a proper collaboration is one where the authors at least sit down regularly to make decisions about the plot and characters, not just where one rewrites the other.

    Aleya - http://silver-oak.com
     
  7. Erebus

    Erebus Keeping The Equilibrium

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    Okay, Franis, I'm prepared to start this collaborative story off with a title, and maybe a few lines as well, and I'll leave it up to the members to carry it on from there. If it works and we get enough support maybe we could start a new one each month, if we can get enough suggestions for titles etc. that is.

    It should be an interesting project...
     
  8. NOEL

    NOEL New Member

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    ok thx for the info . my reaso for asking is i have a great story plot but hehe my prose is horrible for fantasy . hopefully someday i will find someone who will help me write my tale
     
  9. Aleya

    Aleya New Member

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    I generally suffer from the opposite problem. My writing seems to flow out reasonably well, but I struggle horribly with plot and am often left with large holes which take me weeks to figure out a solution for.

    I've taken to asking my boyfriend to help now, since a few weeks back when I was working with a short story which had been on hold for weeks, and when I happened to mention to him what the problem was he rattled off an idea in seconds! [​IMG] And he doesn't even read - eesh.

    Aleya - http://silver-oak.com
     
  10. Steven Savile

    Steven Savile Egor Maniac

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    I've worked on a few collaborations over the last couple of years - one style I used with one writer was that he laid down the framework, hammering out a very rough draft of our collective ideas, and then I gave flesh to the bones. Another time a different writer and I sat side by side (well, first we were in a cafe discussing ideas...) and argued about every single line as it went down - not to be recommended. The third style I've used, this one on a full novel, was to write a section of perhaps 5k and bounce it back and forth, editing each other as we went. It's really horses for courses. I've had good experiences and bad. Two collabs that are unfinished, and will remain that way forever I am sure, and one friendship that could have suffered because no matter how much you want to believe it will work, most times one person does the brunt of the work and ends up feeling bitter.

    Not wanting to be cynical but Fiest's name is plastered all over Honoured Enemy because it sells copies... who the heck has heard of his collaborator? it's that old devil called money again.

    And on the third subject, another forum I was a member of last year did a collaborative horror novella, Fallen Angel Blues, which was done as an old fashioned round robin, each person posting about 300 words, or less and passing it on. At the end of it the collab was released in paperback by a small press in the US - it was fun to be part of... and holding a real copy of it over an electronic screen of words gave it more validity. Surely the aim should be to deliver a final tale somewhere - around 15,000 words worth of classic fantasy touched by everyone's own unique insight. We've got 669 registered users. If 300 are active and 100 actually are prepared to stump up 5 bucks to buy a copy you've got a pretty nice collectable novella on your hands. I'm sure there are artists in house as well...
     
  11. Erebus

    Erebus Keeping The Equilibrium

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    Perhaps you should check out my latest edit of our very own, collaborative story The Melancholy Imp? We had some great ideas and contributions from the members who participated.

    Oh, and welcome to our forum, btw! [​IMG]

    [This message has been edited by erebus (edited September 05, 2001).]
     
  12. matthewajg

    matthewajg New Member

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    If it help...I am currently collaborating on a fantasy series with a friend of many years. He is on leave from Harvard, studying in Germany at the present and I am in New York. Before he left to go on his great European Doctoral Hunt, we did a great deal of leg work and accomplished a great deal of world-building and development of the story. Now, we rely on email and the occasional phone conversation to discuss problems and ask question (thank god for the internet!). In terms of collaborating on the writing itself...we have divided up the books in terms of "episodes", major portions of the novel, and then chosen which of these "episodes" we wish to write initially. Then, once we have a few chapters done, we'll send a Word file attached to an email for the other to review. We may read the others work and add a word or sentence here and there. Or there are times when one of us notices a mistake in logic, character motivation, plotting, pacing, etc. But most importantly, after being friends for some time, we have no fear of criticism from one another. You must not be offended by your fellow collaborator's suggestions and thoughts. Egos get in the way, so throw them out before you begin...easier said than done, I know, but it has made my collaborating much more effective and pleasurable. Also, know when to say, "Okay, let's drop this for now and come back to it." Don't allow tension to develop into anger, don't argue...discuss!
     
  13. milamber_reborn

    milamber_reborn Barcelona!

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    It probably helps if you have a friend who is also a writer, at least you can (hopefully) trust each other enough. Trust would be important as each person would tend to want to write it themselves or use their ideas. A friend and I came up with a cool idea. He prefers first-person style so he needs me to help him write it oneday to make sure that the idea is given justice.
     
  14. An8el

    An8el New Member

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    BTW Erebus, did The Melancholy Imp edit get posted somewhere on the site besides here?
    I think we should be really proud of that story we did together.
    There's a kind of "babylon" romp of 100 words apiece going on "what is it?" thread. Totally different writing style, more like "Hitchiker's Guide" than a novel-style story.

    I'm always amazed when three people in a row can duplicate a writing style so the story sounds like it's being written by one person.
     
  15. Erebus

    Erebus Keeping The Equilibrium

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    An8el,

    No...not yet. I need to do another final(?) edit first. I have a list of notes that some of the other contributors suggested and I'm slowly working my way through them. But as soon as its done I shall post it in our story section and let everyone know. [​IMG]
     
  16. NicoleDreadful

    NicoleDreadful learning as fast as I can

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    Here's another old thread I think might be interesting to revive. Are there folks currently on the forum who have done collaborative projects? How did you divide things up, or did you sit side by side? Did you finish the work? How does pitching a co-authored piece work, or self-publishing? Did the collaboration carry over into the marketing efforts?
     
  17. N. E. White

    N. E. White It could be worse. ~tmso Staff Member

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    Well, we are kind of doing a collaborative work with The End anthology, and there was the Seven Threads effort from way back.

    And some time ago, someone tried to get together a shared world anthology, but I don't think it go anywhere.

    For any collaborative work, you need firm commitment and a strong leader. Oh, and a good plan.
     
  18. Edward M. Grant

    Edward M. Grant Registered User

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    And a rights agreement so your work isn't wasted when the other writer drops out and you don't have the right to complete the story without them.
     
  19. RedMage

    RedMage There is no tomorrow

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    I saw one of the posts on the first page of this thread before it died was "Why are you asking?" And I am wondering that, too, Nicole.

    My cousin and his best friend have spent the last few years writing an epic fantasy series. They now have the first book completed and have started pitching it to agents and publishers. The only thing I really know about their process is that they developed the characters together, one is better at writing fight scenes and the other better at dialogue, and that they may write scenes individually in the beginning but they edit, correct, develop, and polish together. I have no idea of the legal details of their partnership.

    I have always thought it would be fun to collaborate on a story. Not an anthology, because those are collaborations on a theme or an idea and the individual stories are completely different from each other. I tried a shared world collaboration once, born out of a discussion here on sffworld. It didn't work out. Looking back, it was a lesson in needing to know what you are going to be doing before you begin and needing to have committment and passion from all collaborators. I still think it would be fun, not to mention constantly exciting, to collaborate on a story together with someone.