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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Co-Authoring: Getting Down to Business

So, now you know how Nikki and I started our co-authoring process: meeting, doing character profiles, and outlining.  This week, we're going to tell you how we shared our writing responsibilities.

Rather than assigning chapters, we took days. Or parts of days.  Since we had a detailed outline, it was easy to say, "ok, you write day 4 and I'll take day 5."  We didn't just assign days since some days have a lot more happen then others.  It was more of an "I'm done with day 4, and I'm feeling inspired to tackle night 6 because I had a great idea for the date."  As we wrote, we'd pass our chapters back and forth.

I think I can speak for Nikki when I say we tried to go in to our own chapters and make them gel with the chapters around them as the manuscript went back and forth.  And Nikki created an ingenious way of labeling the files. It was: Beneath1-[last chapter #][NVK or JLH][date].  That way you can tell from looking at the saved title of the doc that you're working with your latest version or the latest version of your writing partner.

Being cross-coastal from each other actually helped, I think.  Since I'm three hours ahead and we both write at night, I was able to do my writing and pass it to Nikki before she started her writing for the evening. And when I woke up the next morning, Nikki's chapters were waiting for me.  (Although the outline made the chapters blend together pretty well, admittedly it was easier to write the next chapter when I knew exactly what happened just before that.)

Of course, if either of us needed to ease up on the writing schedule, or one of us had a burning desire to tackle a particular chapter, we went with the flow.  In my mind, being flexible and understanding was just as important as being like-minded.

Got any questions?  Any tips to share with us as we dive further into revisions? 


Marieke said...

Ooh, that's actually very interesting to read. I've been toying with the idea of co-writing a story for a long time now, and it may not happen for another long time, but I love finding out how other people work that out :)

Melissa said...

Huh. That's actually really interesting. Maybe one day I'll look into co-authoring a book with someone. I think it would be a lot of fun but I think finding the right person would be hard.

Jessie said...

I tell you, when I read Nikki's writing, I just knew we'd "click" together. Seems like beta reading for others is not only a good way to improve your own writing, but to find someone whose style is compatible.

Mayra Calvani said...

Hi Jessie,
Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog yesterday (Plot a novel in 15 mins).
i'm following you now. Hope you'll follow back! :-)

Beth said...

That sounds like a fun process. Good luck on the new WIP.

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