Collaborating

One of the problems with letting a project drag on too long is that eventually you grow tired of it and start thinking about the next one and the one after that. This is the point that I’ve reached with my ghost hunter novel. For reasons that aren’t clear to me, it has begun to feel more like work and less like fun. I like the characters and the story I’ve created so far, but I’ve been working on it for so long that I just want to be done with it. I made a New Year’s resolution to finish it by the end of February, and I’m still hoping to accomplish that.

However, thoughts of future projects keep popping into my head — maybe some urban fantasy, maybe some horror, maybe some non-specfic drama. The more immediate project is one that a friend and I began discussing last spring. I don’t want to reveal any details of the story, but it’s timely. We agreed that we would write it together, which is both exciting and a little scary at the same time. I’ve never collaborated with anyone on a fiction project before, and I’m not entirely sure what to expect. Our styles are quite different. Melding the two will be a challenge, hopefully one that we’ll enjoy and that won’t cause hard feelings. My co-author (whose name I won’t reveal because I haven’t asked for permission to do so) is a very dear friend, and I don’t want our joint project to change that.

On the other hand, this person has given me dozens of valuable critiques on my current work in progress and on PURGATORY (another one of my future projects is yet another draft of that book based on her suggestions.) I think that could be one of the best things about collaborating — one person will think of or catch things that the other person missed entirely. And no one has a monopoly on good ideas. Two heads working together will hopefully come up with something better than either would have produced individually. In business jargon-speak, this is called, “synergy.” (That is the first and last time you’ll see me use that word here. I despise business jargon. If you ever hear me use the word “utilize,” feel free to have me committed. I’ll thank you for it later.)

Complicating this project is the fact that we don’t live in the same region of the country, so our work together will be through e-mail and Skype. That shouldn’t be a major hindrance (I’m thinking of Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine writing the first Books and Braun novel while she was still in New Zealand and he was in the States,) but it adds to the challenge. We’ve already e-mailed some ideas back and forth; the next step will be a detailed outline. I’m hopeful that actual writing will commence in a couple of months. Keeping in mind that we’re both insanely busy much of the time, I still hope that we can have a first draft done by the end of the summer (notice how I worked in summer? The temperature in Syracuse right now is minus 10 degrees F.)

So, wish us luck. And if anyone out there who has done this before wants to chime in with ideas on how to make it work, I’d love to hear them. Suggest away in the comments.

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3 Responses to Collaborating

  1. Mitch says:

    It’s probably best that y’all aren’t necessarily in the same place. I find that when I have collaborated on some kind of writing project that it works best actually seeing everything in writing, and thus would rather not meet the person, well, in person. lol

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  3. tdodge says:

    Maybe so. Obviously, technology gives us plenty of ways to have live discussions about the book. I still think it would be helpful to sit down over a cup of coffee once in a while to brainstorm or compare notes, but that’s not practical. In any event, it should be a very interesting experience.

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