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  1. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Writing with a Co Author

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MilesTro, Sep 6, 2012.

    I was thinking about working with a co author since I been getting a lot of story ideas. I am already working on a novel and a short story, plus a college writing assignment. I heard James Patterson has co authors, and he got a lot of books done while he worked on one novel in one year.

    What I want to know is how do two authors work on a book together? Do they have to share the same creative writing style to fit together? And who gets to write the book? Plus can the co author be your editor too?
     
  2. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    The entire point of a co author is to have two people writing the same novel. You want to be writing a novel with someone that has a similar writing style and interest in the same type of novel.

    Co authors normally switch off throughout chapters. I know that when James Patterson co-authors a novel they outline how many chapters to write before sending it to the other author to write on.

    I would recommend having a different editor because the co-author technically writes half the novel with you. You would need someone unknown to your novel to edit it.

    Hope that helps. :)
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    First question is why you think you should get a co-author just because you get lots of ideas. Ideas are a dime a dozen; the execution is what counts. Co-authors write the book together, and you darn well better have a detailed contract drawn up by a literary attorney.

    I would strongly suggest you just make notes of your ideas and work on your own writing.
     
  4. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Well there is this one book I want to write now. It already has a plot line and the characters. I don't have time to write it. There is just do many things I have to do. I can only write two stories right now. There are also some other written projects, which are unfinished. My ideas, so far, had already been written out in my note books.

    I want the co author to finish them. As for this one book, I haven't started on it yet.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Do NOT do it without an ironclad contract. Consult with a literary attorney.

    Collaborative writing is fraught with peril. It can and has broken up friendships, even marriages, and can end up as a civil court case.
     
  6. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    Maybe I am missing something.

    It doesn't sound like you want a co-author. It sounds like you want to commission a work-for-hire.

    It sounds to me like you have an idea and just want someone else to write it to your satisfaction. That isn't really a collaborative co-author relationship.

    You should write with a co-author because you find that individual has a similar style and you two just want to work together. If you want to be the "idea person" and someone else be the "execution person" you need to find someone willing to write the piece and grant you all of the rights. Two different animals. This would also mean that you aren't really writing anything. You're brainstorming and then taking credit for someone else's execution.

    i.e. I come up with the idea for a Star Trek holodeck. I hire a team of engineers and physicists. They develop the technology. Then I slap my name on the finished product. It was my idea. I may be legally justified in doing so, but am I really an inventor when someone else pulled off the project on my behalf?

    If you do co-author, have it ghost written or do whatever you are going to do, as Cogito suggests, get a contract. Get a good contract. Then get a lawyer to tear through it like a rabid dog to make sure it will protect you.

    I have tons of notebooks filled with ideas. Many will never be executed. Yet, I still don't want to just farm them out.
     
  7. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    I don't want to hire a ghost writer. Ghost writers are as expensive as cars. I don't even have a job. The co author will share my credit and place his or her name on my book.

    I guess I will just keep working on my writing style and find an author who could almost write like me. But how do I find out if that author can write like me? What if my story is in first person view based on how the character talks and see the world through his or her eyes?
     
  8. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    Very scary. Above post by Miles, also very scary
     
  9. idle
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    idle Active Member

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    I don't think there are many people out there who would much enjoy working on some else's ideas - those who can write usually have their own ones. So, if you aren't ready to pay them, what is in it for them?
     
  10. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've never written anything with a co-writer, even in school. I'd be interested in doing so, although not right now (this post is not an advertisement). I'm an inveterate daydreamer, and the way that I've imagined co-writing is to start off with the co-authors just bouncing ideas off each other, perhaps by email. E.g. one setting up scenes and characters, perhaps creating a problem, then the other writing how the character would solve that problem, or at least respond to it. And after a while, there would be enough "stuff" around, and enough understanding of the characters and their environments, to start plotting out the whole work, with plenty of material to choose from and adapt. I have imagined this for humour writing, and am perhaps influenced by my use of The Internet Oracle.

    Given what's written above, co-writing looks to be a lot more directed and formal than I imagined it.
     
  11. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you want someone to just finish it for you, hire a ghost writer - the ghost writer will write the book for you and your name will still be on it, not the ghost writer's.

    Do not make the mistake of thinking a co-author can just "finish" the book "for you" - listen to the term, the other person is a co-AUTHOR. And what do authors do? If you're writing WITH someone, not just telling someone else to write it for you, that it is their book as much as it is yours. It is no longer just your story, a project that you want finished and that should be executed in exactly the way you want it to, and follow only your ideas and you hold the final say in how the story should go, taking and leaving "advice" if you will. That's not co-authoring anything.

    If you co-author a book with someone, it is both HIS/HER and your book. Not just your book. And they would get a say in how they want the book to go. Their name also goes on the cover, not just yours.
     
  12. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    The more I read, the more it sounds like you want the credit for someone else's work. If you want to be a writer, write the stories yourself. You'll make time for it.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    pay good attention to all that cog, james, idle and mckk have to say above... it's all i would have said, had they not gotten here ahead of me...

    yes, what you really are saying you want is a ghostwriter, not a 'co-author'... no writer who's good enough to take your ideas and turn them into stories or novels that will be of marketable quality is going to do so for nothing... and that's what 'sharing credit' consists of... nothing... because the chances of any book by an unknown writer/author being published are less than slim to none, no matter how well written it may be... and it will take up to a year or so of hard work, for anyone to write your novel for you and get it into polished, submittable condition... who's going to be crazy enough to work that hard for so long on someone else's book for nothing, when they have their own books or paying clients' books to write?...
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    The problem is that the idea is barely the beginning. If you provide the idea and someone else does the writing, they've done the vast majority of the work. Why would they do ninety-nine percent of the work of writing a book, and subordinate their writing style to someone else's, just for a partial credit? They'd be much better off coming up with their own ideas and writing their own book.
     
  15. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    I don't want to steal any writer's credit. If someone stole mine, I will sue them. Indeed I do sound like I prefer to hire a ghost writer, but I think what I want to do is share my work with another writer if he or she likes the story.

    What would be the point of having a ghost writer if you are going to write part of the story half the time?
     
  16. FirstTimeNovelist91
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    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

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    I agree 100%. It seems as though the OP is in love with the IDEA of writing, but doesn't want to put in the time and effort in the actual PROCESS.
     
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  17. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    If you have time to write half the story, you should probably just write the whole story and just take twice as long.

    I realize you may not think you want a ghostwriter. But your goal of finding a quality coauthor who is OK with song most of the work on executing your idea is simply not feasible. If you want to coauthor a book, you are looking to enter a collaborative relationship with another author. Meaning, the other author gets to pitch story ideas as well. Meaning you both try to lay out the book and divide the work in a fair and equitable manner.

    Your idea contains a lot of "I" statements relating to your idea and what you want out of the arrangement. You've indicated what you want and how you hope to benefit. But the relationship you are describing sounds, to me at least, to be more n line with either a ghostwriter or an assistant. Calling either of those a "co-author" doesn't make them one.

    Also, your idea of continuing to write until you find someone who can write like you emphasizes how one sided of a relationship you want. You say it like you are going to audition writers to see if they write like you. What if your writing isn't that good? (I'm not saying you're a bad writer, but run with me on this)

    I still maintain you want a ghost writer. You may not want to pay for one, but that is what you are asking for. Either that or you want a dupe to go out on a limb, write a book based on your idea and then get him/her to share credit with you. But what you are describing here is not a co-author.
     
  18. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Okay, perhaps I do not fully understand what it means to coauthor a book.
     
  19. DanesDarkLand
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    DanesDarkLand Senior Member

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    Ever hear the saying your money is burning a hole in your pocket? Take your time Miles. Ideas will bounce around in your head so often that you'll wonder if they are good ideas, or just bad ones you shouldn't pursue. Don't let an idea burn a hole in your pocket.

    Just write. Some published authors have used co-authors, but that is a partnership, and sometimes a tenuous one at best. Contracts let the partners know what their rights are, and what guidelines should be followed. If your not a published author, the likelihood that you'll find someone who will follow your lead will be low. If you've not found your writing style, or ironed it out completely, your 'voice' may be submerged for the more powerful writer.

    Take your time. Develop your writing, and your voice. By the time you're comfortable with that voice, you may lose the desire to share your work with anyone.
     
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  20. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Thank you.
     
  21. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    In general, if you're co- authoring, you'd generally both be equals. You don't set the plot and the writing style and then give the other author instructions on precisely how you want the book written, because your preferences would be no more important than his. Now, if you were already a very famous author, or there was a prospect of money, or you were doing most of the work, or there were some other inducement for a co-author to give up some of their power, that might happen. But you're not yet famous, you're not offering money or the likelihood of making money, and you want the other author to do most of the work. That's not a situation that will persuade someone to let you give the orders.

    I suspect that you may be overvaluing ideas, and undervaluing writing. Generally it's the writing, and the page by page, paragraph by paragraph ideas that are inevitably part of the writing, that has value. The idea for the overall novel has very limited value when separated from the implementation of that idea--that is, the writing.
     
  22. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    So how do both authors work together?
     
  23. FirstTimeNovelist91
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    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

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    Sometimes one will write one chapter and one will right another chapter. Alternate writing chapters and collaborate with story ideas. Teamwork....almost like a marriage....sort of.
     
  24. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Just like how you will share your book.
     
  25. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    Yeah. If you want to obsess over someone, compete with someone, screw and get screwed over, almost overdose a lot, and seriously consider murder and suicide, write a book with a few friends. -Old Professor, not me
     

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