1. thenewpeter
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    thenewpeter Senior Member

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    Group writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by thenewpeter, Feb 10, 2011.

    I've been wondering for a little bit what it'd be like to write as part of a group, I could imagin alot of problems if someone wasn't dedicated to said project, but I could see it working rather well in another way, does anyone here have any experiance doing this and want to give their 2 cents?
     
  2. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've only worked with one friend at a time, but what's fun is the bouncing of ideas - plots move fast and you can come up with a lot of twists and turns. The bad part is that no one really wants to sit around describing when you have a laugh, and depth is harder to convey when people have subtly different philosophies. Working with my bestie on a rather more serious story the problem came out that even though we both were taking the project seriously we have very different writing methods - I start at the beginning and plough through various vaguely imagined emotional stop points building and developing as I go, working intuitively off the emotions of the previous scenes to shape the next ones, while she comes up with random scenes, waits to commune with the characters, and learns the story as she goes, writing it totally out of order in spur of the moment bursts of inspiration. We built up a fair few scenes, but I was going crazy because even though we discussed the emotional and physical journey I couldn't *see* it and each new scene felt like a new slate for emotions, like a series of sketches. When I tried to get her to write it all in order with that ground work done, she lost interest pretty quickly because I was trying to actually set it into a logical order and write *everything*.

    When I've read published works written by two authors they do follow this pattern of lots of action and not much pauses for description except in blocks set aside where one of them clearly said, "Here, you're good at describing trees, do a paragraph or two here..." When it's a chapter each, though, the authors are a lot more relaxed and work on developing their characters personally.

    My only experience with large amounts of group writing is roleplays online, which aren't usually planned, or well enough, and always end in confusion, and the quality of writing that comes across is terrible because even really good writers are just concentrating on what their characters are doing and are too scared to step on toes describing others'... Mostly it comes down to shooting one-liners back and forth for 10 pages while nothing happens.

    I guess it could be good when planned, and if you play off the writing strengths of each person in the group, but you'd have to work in similar or at least accomodating ways.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see the value in it - certainly bouncing ideas is valuable, talking to people about my writing helps me develop it.

    Where I could see it working really well is if you take POV each which would allow them to be truly varied and different.

    However think my method of working would drive others up the wall.
     
  4. thenewpeter
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    thenewpeter Senior Member

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    I was wondering if it'd be possible to do as, say, a group of 5 over the internet, this would cause some comunication problems, but they could be worked around in several different ways, instant messaging for instance, a meeting on skype, or through using a console to comunicate via headset.
    I think that I'd probably set it up if I did one, for diferent people to write different sets of scenes, eg. Someone who is good at keeping diologue going would work mostly on those parrts, those who are good at writing action sequences stick mostly to those ect.
    But would that work?

    I know what you mean regardingonline rpg's, I quite like taking part in them and am curently taking pat in PAX here.
     
  5. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Such things can work, but frequently dont, for the same reason that many stories don't get finished. Most people lose interest in writing on the project, and it goes for a while before petering out.

    A way to increase the likelihood of finishing is to get together and extensively outline, then assign chapters. Meet again a few weeks later to pass around first drafts, find minor errors, and assign the next few chapters. Rinse and repeat.

    Obviously, if you're looking to do this for funsies as opposed to trying to publish the work afterward, you don't need to go to such lengths to outline and keep on a writing schedule. But in both cases, be on the lookout for flakiness, especially if the writers working on the project have a poor track record of finishing their previous projects.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the camel and the platypus are good examples of why one shouldn't create anything 'by committee'...

    such stuff may be fun, but it won't be published, make you an 'author' or pay the bills...

    if you have all that time to spend, why not spend it on writing something of your own that you may be able to see published some day?
     
  7. PurpleCandle
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    PurpleCandle Senior Member

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    I myself have had to write with groups before and it sucked badly.

    At first I liked the bouncing of ideas, but I quickly learned that most people do not have good ideas. Most people don't even have a sense of logic in their own beliefs. Most of the time, those ideas are just junk or things that have been done before.
    There is always one person in the group who will not pull there fare share, and always 1 who will not turn stuff in on time and their will either be no leaders, thus no direction, or too many people trying to be leaders...and Lots of drama!

    And when you try to edit the work into something that makes sense, they will all scream to the heavens that whatever they wrote is perfect.
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Working in groups is hard but get the right group and it can work very well. The Platypus and the Camel make the point that good comedy can be written as part of a team, that is when it is very useful to have people to bounce off.

    Groups only work if roles are devised and organised before embarking on the main bit of a project. Also where the people are working together towards the final goal and not their own piece of work.
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    The group work can be fun, but why not just talk and build ideas with a fellow writer-friend while you each work on your own stories? I've got about five people who I do that with - it helps having that other person to help you when you're stuck, or to contribute cool things, but in the end you don't have to compromise your work or deal with someone else's writing style. ;)
     
  10. Broken Essence
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    Hmm, personally I don't really have any experience with this but I can see how many things could go wrong with it, especially the more people that our involved.

    I think perhaps it would be best to just work with one other dedicated person at a time.

    I would really like to work with someone else to write something.
     

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