Collaboration

I’m taking part in a huge project that includes four other budding authors (all 18/19 years old) and everything has its ups and has its downs but after working with a few people I’ve began to learn things about writing a book with a second person.

My first book Choreography I co-wrote with a very good friend of mine Kyrie Tealin. There were very little problems with that, we were 14 and we were writing a book together of course the process took a good few years and the editing took equally as long but we worked together well there was no disputes and every decision was usually agreed to very quickly.

My second collaboration after that didn’t take place until I was 17. This was with another good friend of mine J.D Barkley, who was nervous of writing a book alone and felt if we wrote one together it’d give them the push they needed. We formed Adventures in Twinville which went on sale in January and due to complications we had to take it off sale and work out a new strategy. This took about three days to do and it was tough, there was disagreements and times of just being completely out of ideas, but we kept it positive and no idea was a bad idea (and believe me, there were some bad ideas). Working with J.D Barkley is always interesting because we can have such contrasting ideas, we’ve written a play together and J.D is taking part in the Basorexia project alongside me.

I’ve also had a few false starts with writing a book with someone. I’ve had a few brilliant ideas, brilliant productive meetings but the story has never taken off and it’s usually because they are waiting for me to make the first move.

So the things I’ve learnt by writing with other people;

  • If they don’t enquire about the book after there has been no talk about it, move on from it, focus on your own story and if that idea should crop up again, work with it.
  • Make sure the workload is equal. Make sure you’re writing equal amounts, equal amount of words, equal amount of pages. If one person is doing most the work it can become a burden and can course disputes between you and the person you’re writing with.
  • Make sure writing is completely professional. Don’t let it become personal. If you want a successful writing experience with someone, criticism has to be purely professional and cannot be a personal attack or be taken personally.
  • Make sure the person knows your friendship is a separate thing to your writing and anything that happens during writing meetings is not a reflection on your friendship or your fondness for each other.
  • If you’re working with more than one person make sure there’s a fair deal in place, things that every contributor of the book agrees on and conditions that everyone has come up with.
  • Keep it Fun! There’s nothing worse that writing a book and being bored by it (alone or with people), keep the meetings entertaining and keep the work fun. Even if you spend a meeting talking about the characters futures that will never be in the book or funny anecdotes that happened in their past, make sure you keep it fun.
  • Take a break once in a while. Writing none stop can be tiring and get repetitive and boring, see your co-writer as a friend rather than a co-writer and have personal meetings as well as productive ones (usually the best ideas come out of the silly meetings).

From experience I can say that writing a book with someone can be enjoyable and can be a great bonding experience but it always comes with the difficulties. If any problems or difficulties are solved effectively and calmly, writing a collaborated book can be a brilliant experience and pressing the publish button can be your biggest achievement.

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