1. JPGriffin
    Offline

    JPGriffin Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2011
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Connecticut

    Is Writing with Someone Beneficial?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JPGriffin, Jul 7, 2011.

    I've recently gotten into an argument with one of my closer friends whom I used to write with, call it creative differences, but anyways I was wondering if there really is any benefit to writing with another person, especially when it comes to creating different story ideas and settings, amongst other basic aspects. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. flipflop
    Offline

    flipflop Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    5
    For technical reference books i beleive it to be an advantage but for a novel im not sure all the stories ive heard have been about problems and legal issues so i would say not
     
  3. Gigi_GNR
    Offline

    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    12,143
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Depends on the person you're working with. If you can both get along and are of like minds about your story, you can. If you fight or have ideas that vary greatly, then no.
     
  4. VM80
    Offline

    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    UK
    That really depends. For non-academic works, I tend to say no.

    I don't think I could write with someone else. My experiences sadly taught me that so-called 'friendships' can be fleeting at times...

    One of my cousins and I 'exchanged' one round of favours and I will still use what she came up with, to an extent (since she used my work as well), even though we aren't speaking at the moment.

    But otherwise I prefer going it alone.
     
  5. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    If you mean "writing with someone" in the sense that you've got a friend who's a fellow writer, and you discuss your separate works and swap ideas and suggestions, then that's great. I've got a wide network both here and from writing groups in person, and this type of teamwork with other writers helps tremendously - we help each other and offer feedback, but ultimately, you're in charge of your own story.

    As far as co-writing with another author, I don't know if that's something I'd ever want to do, but I'd most likely lean against it.

    If you do go that route, make sure to make up a contract BEFOREHAND about things like payments and other publication issues (i.e. what if there's a disagreement over promotion routes? Movie rights? etc?). You don't want to be in an awkward conflict. And don't think it's not necessary if the person is someone close to you.
     
  6. jnk1296
    Offline

    jnk1296 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Yeah, unless it's for some kind of reference book or otherwise, I'd keep to myself.

    Personally, I've never heard of a novel, or any story for that matter, being more than a one person activity. Now if the person is there to be a second pair of eyes, such as for editing purposes, well then that's fine, but otherwise, no. Of course, that's just in my opinion.
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Collaboration is a minefield, and if you collaborate with a friend, you can lose a friend.

    If you do choose to collaborate, draw up a contract clearly defining each partner's role, responsibilities, and what happens to the story if one of you quits the contract. Never collaborate without such a contract, and have a lawyer review it before either of you sign it.
     
  8. Lord Malum
    Offline

    Lord Malum Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Kansas City, KS
    I can't put it any better than cogito. But I can offer my own experience.

    I collaborated as an exercise with a friend of mine. We have an almost identical sense of humor so we wrote a comedy. The creative juices were just overflowing the pages and the only part we ever disagreed on was when to stop. It was a really good time. The finished product was hilarious and actually won first prize in our high school's writing conetest we entered it in and was then later published as the headline story in an anthology the writing department put together. I still have a copy of it somewhere in storage I think.

    I haven't done a collaboration since. But I can understand that my experience may be an exception.
     
  9. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    successful literary collaborations are so rare that they're aberrations, rather than merely exceptions to the rule of writing being a solitary occupation...

    horror stories abound, of partnerships turned toxic and originators of literary works losing all rights to them, thanks to the treachery/betrayal of a 'best friend'...

    i've had mentees with such tales of woe ask me what can be done and had to tell them 'nothing' because they didn't have a good collaboration agreement/contract in place before even discussing the project, or writing a single word together...

    so, the answer to your question is, 'it can be'... but only so extremely rarely that it's wiser not to risk the much more likely alternative...

    and, if you do, you'd better have an attorney-approved, iron-clad agreement in place, before you start...
     
  10. Gigi_GNR
    Offline

    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    12,143
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I've always preferred to fly solo with writing, because I never think my friend/collaborator has the same ideas as me and will somehow wreck the story.
     
  11. -oz
    Offline

    -oz Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    The Great Sandy Waste
    We haven't gone to the publishing phase (not even remotely close), but we're getting there. A fellow author and I sat down and worked out an outline with two main characters. The idea was that the two characters only intersected in a few spots in the book despite both being very pervasive throughout the story, so we have relative freedom when writing. We're not finished, but it's been fun reading through and referencing a related story you have no control over. Even when the characters are together, we just worked out a really tight outline, knowing everything that's going to happen, and we split it between two chapters so that we both got to write half of it. The hardest part is finding the time to sit down with your buddy to figure out exactly what the opposite character would say. This fun way to write is probably an exception to the rule though, and would really only work with this type of outline.
     
  12. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    There's no right or wrong. Some collaborations have the right chemistry and work -- the crime writer Nicki French is actually a husband-wife team, and most people think Red Dwarf was better when Doug Grant and Rob Naylor were working together. But lots of collaborations don't work, and if you are getting into lots of arguments over creative differences then I suggest that that collaboration isn't working. Don't write off collaborations because of that, just recognise that it's not going to work with that person, and maybe they're not for you in general.
     
  13. Tessadragon
    Offline

    Tessadragon Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Surrey England
    If you mean writing with another writer in the same room:
    I used to get together with writing friends once or twice a week. We'd take the bus from college to my house, go up to the attic, boot up the old desktop and get out our laptops, and order a cheese and sweetcorn pizza (ALWAYS that flavour...). It was the most fun thing ever. I was writing a series at the time, and they were brilliant at checking it for me, and i'd read through theirs.

    If you mean collaborating with a writer on the same project:
    Choose your partners carefully. A friend and i decided to work together on a story, it was fine, i let her generate the ideas then we'd bounce them around, expand them. Neither of us laid a stronger claim on the story, but at the same time we never took it that far such as publishing as we both had a lot of other, individual projects to deal with. We still recall that story fondly and read through its notes and illustrations.
     

Share This Page