We’re dedicating a few posts this week to the co-writing process..and by a few posts I mean three. So, if you missed Part 1, you can check it out here. Meanwhile, today we’ll be talking about the pros and cons of writing with someone else.
First, on to the pros!
HEIDI: Co-writing a book can be a lot of fun. I think one of the first pros is that if you write with a partner, you have someone to bounce ideas off of. I’d come up with something, tell Kati, and then if she liked it, she’d start thinking of ways to make it work, or to make it even better.
KATI: With two people going back and forth, you kind of challenge each other, also, to create something more imaginative than you might have done on your own.
HEIDI: With us it sometimes was a bit of a competition – since we would each write a section and then pass it to the other, we’d try to leave each other a nice cliff-hanger.
KATI: Speak for yourself. Elister the Bloody?
HEIDI: Heh heh…my crowning moment. I wrote that a character was in Lailu’s restaurant, someone who terrified her, chilling her blood as quickly as the frozen orc meat in her cellar, and then…I ended the section.
KATI: We never discussed this character before. I had no idea who he was or why he was scary, and suddenly I was supposed to write a section around him. Not cool!
HEIDI: Well, he ended up being an integral part to the story, so it all worked out. 🙂
KATI: Are we talking about pros still? Sounded a bit like a con to me…
HEIDI: Kati loves my randomly-added characters. 🙂 Anyhow, the other good thing is that whole “no one’s going to write your story for you” statement is out the window when you write with a partner; I’d go to bed, then get up in the morning and there’d be a whole chunk of story added, just waiting for me. Very convenient.
KATI: And finally, it can be more fun writing with someone else. Writing is usually a very solitary activity; with a partner you can joke around and enjoy coming up with crazy ideas and implementing them.
HEIDI: And you have someone else there as a second pair of eyes, so if you’re not completely sure about an idea, or whether a character would really do something, you have instant judgement from another person. Which might be a good place to lead into… the cons!
The cons of co-writing:
KATI: I don’t think there are that many cons that we’ve run into.
HEIDI: That’s probably because you had such an awesome writing partner. My experience was a little rougher… 😉
KATI: Whatever. ;p
HEIDI: Seriously, though, the only real con I can think of is that your work is not just your work; it’s a shared venture, so ultimately you have to agree with your partner and vice versa on the direction your story will take.
KATI: You’re still a little bitter about that one scene, aren’t you?
HEIDI: Just a bit. I loved that scene. :* (
KATI: I did, too…but…it had to go. It was out of character.
HEIDI: …I know…sadness.
KATI: Anyhow, sometimes one person would write something that the other one disagreed with. Strongly. And then, ultimately, we’d have to decide. Which is what happened with Heidi’s scene. It was really a charming, funny scene, but I just didn’t feel like it was in character for one of our main characters.
HEIDI: Usually we’d compromise on the little things, but if one of us felt very strongly about a scene/character/plot point, then generally the other person would bow down to it. For instance, I thought about my scene and realized that yes, it didn’t quite fit, so I took it out. But I was still a little sad about it. Then the same thing happened with my character…
KATI: Tim? I almost forgot about him…
HEIDI: Don’t worry, Tim! I’ll never forget you!
KATI: You know what they say; too many characters spoil the stew.
HEIDI: Mmm, stew again. 🙂
KATI: I’d say the only other con is that you do have to rely on another person to help finish the book. Sometimes one of us would be waiting for the other, which slowed us down at times. On the other hand, we were both very committed to finishing this story, so we’d make up for it later.
HEIDI: I’ve found with writing there’s always a bit of ebb and flow to productivity; sometimes I’d write a section and it just wouldn’t feel right, so I’d have to delete it and restart, and I’m sure Kati had similar issues. Ultimately, though, we wrote the first draft really quickly, and since we were both editing each other as we went along, it was almost like a third draft when we finished it.
KATI: And now we’re back onto pros again, so I think that’s a good place to end it. Co-writing is fun and can be good, but you have to remember it’s a joint process and you need to compromise along the way.
Tomorrow will be our final segment in this lovely little series: should you co-write a book, and what to look for in a potential writing partner. Stick around!