Collaborative Writing

For anyone who doesn't know what collaborative writing is, it is when two or more authors work on the same piece of writing (and presumably publish it together). The term also applies to nonfiction, and is common for students to write essays/projects collaboratively. Sadly, yes, I did need to explain this because apparently ignorance of writing terms are surprisingly common.

Comment from a fellow writer on Facebook on the topic of Collaborative Writing:

"Not me, sorry. It usually ends up with someone dictating, and me doing all the actual work."

 And my response:

That is what happens to me!

If only there was a way for 2 authors to share the burden equally... Like having two MCs and each author alternates between their characters for each chapter.

Of course first the writers need to agree on a subgenre, a setting, how much magic is in the world, how many monsters, a theme or themes for the story, and a target word count.

So for example they could choose to write...

  • Comedic Fantasy
  • Post-Apocalyptic Earth where magic is now real and the world has been invaded by magical creatures coming through portals into Earth.
  • Humans are still new to magic and suck at it. Magical races that came through the portal have significant command of magic.
  • Lots of strange bizarre monsters. Eg. Flying Piggasaurs, Laughing Storkians, Two-Headed Indecisive Dragons...
  • Multiple themes, including survival, ingenuity, discovery, perseverance.
  • 40k, with each author responsible for writing at least 20k.

Then when it comes time to edit they swap and edit the other person's work.

I have no objection to collaborating with other writers, but the real trick is finding another writer with similar writing goals / style / interested in the same things.

For example I mostly write heroic fantasy, dark fantasy, and sword & sorcery these days. But I am open to writing in other subgenres.

I also firmly believe that the two writers should have similar writing styles and be passionate about the same or similar things when it comes to what their writing is really about.

For example, my heroic fantasy book "The Assassin's Trail" is really about two things: Survival and standing up to bullies.

Likewise my book "The Demon's Sacrifice" is really about teamwork and heroic sacrifice.

Thus when I am writing heroic fantasy, there is definitely going to be various themes associated with heroism.

Likewise if I am writing dark fantasy there will be themes related to undead, horror, dark magic, etc.

Sword and Sorcery? Classic tropes and themes that you might find in old Conan the Barbarian stories.

The trick therefore is finding other authors, with a mature writing style, who also write such things and want to write collaboratively.

The next hurdle to this is how to publish...

Traditional Publishing - The publisher might be more willing to take a chance on two authors over a single author, as it doubles the number of writers promoting the book. The key benefit for the authors is that the publisher can split their payments evenly.

Self-Publishing - Trickier when it comes to splitting earnings. Amazon currently doesn't have a system in place for splitting earnings between multiple authors. This actually makes more sense if the two writers are already friends and they can just use the honour system for sharing the profits, because they trust each other and don't have any trust issues.

Problems arise when two strangers are self-publishing and the workload isn't being split evenly and the profits are likewise not split evenly.

It would be nice if Amazon (or similar self-publishing platforms) created a system wherein authors could collaboratively publish their work and share profits evenly.

Same goes with authors and illustrators, in the case of graphic novels, children's books, etc.

So this is definitely something which Amazon needs to rectify.

It is also possible (and more expensive) for two writers to setup a LLC account that then splits profits, but Amazon really should find a way to allow writers to split their profits.

So is the headache worth it?

Honestly, I don't know.

I have never written and published anything cooperatively.

I have tried to do it, but the other person (or group of people) always fails to live up to expectations.

Plus I have so many of my own ideas and projects to work on I don't think I would ever do it unless another author approached me with a great idea for how we could work together.

Last year I joined several groups of people who were trying to make a collaborative novel (with 13 authors no less) or an anthology, and all of these projects died when the person leading the project lost interest in making it happen.

You know how sometimes you are working on an idea and you just lose interest in it? Well, for a collaborative project that is twice as likely to happen because it only takes one person to lose interest for the project to fail.

However that doesn't mean the writing you did doesn't have potential to just go it alone.

Some of the writing I did last year for these various projects are now destined for self-publishing as solo pieces.

So even if the headaches fails you still have work product which you can sell if it is written well.

I was expecting the projects to fail when I joined them (I had very low expectations), so when writing I just focused on making my contribution able to stand on its own.

For example one of the stories I wrote was about a wandering stranger. I have since decided that I will turn that into a Wulfric the Wanderer story which will be published later this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments containing links will be marked as spam and not approved.

Publishing a fantasy book? Make sure you get a professional fantasy book editor.

Study Archery in Toronto

So you want to study archery, but you are having difficulty finding an archery instructor who is local. However there is a solution. If you are willing to travel you can take a crash course in archery in Toronto, Canada. 10 lessons over a two week period will take you from archery novice to an experienced and capable archer.

Popular Posts