Collaboration

Had a really great impromptu conversation with a friend last night about writing. He has a great mind for stories, and had a lot of ideas he mentioned on the fly. But he hates to spend the time writing them all down, and actually turning them into stories. I told him to email me sometime with new ideas; I’d be happy to run with them, and of course, share credit when the novels become big hits.

It got me to thinking, though: you don’t really see a ton of collaborative authors on most popular fiction. Yeah, there’s some out there, but not much. Why is that? I love writing with others. Tandem writing is a blast, and sharing ideas and building them through some form of dialectic is not only fun, but you get more perspective than your own, which makes for a richer story.

I suppose, on the flip side, there could be the old too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen argument: too many perspectives makes for inconsistencies in the story, in the writing style, etc. But that’s nothing a good editing session can’t work out, right? Not much editing will help a major difference in opinion, though. Author A wants to have the villain kill the hero’s dog, but Author B thinks this is where we see the villain’s heart. Two completely different roads that might be difficult to have converge at some point.

Now that I mention it, I can see where collaboration might be a huge pain in the ass, in the long run. A writer gets so intimately connected to her story, it would be hard to share. I could see taking my friend’s ideas and running with them, but once I developed the characters and the fine details, I would have a hard time letting go of them. My friend’s opinion on where the story should go probably wouldn’t mean much after I’d poured my heart into it.

So what do I think after typing all this? Hard to say. I still value building some sort of community piece into my writing. Maybe I just don’t want to let the community in too far without some sort of explicit boundaries/understandings established first. Kinda takes the fun out of a few friends sitting around and chatting about a story, doesn’t it?

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