Collaborative Writing

collaborative writingI’ve been a writer most of my life. I have written both fiction and non-fiction, blog posts, magazine articles, books, newsletters, and all kinds of other projects involving writing. The one thing I had never done was co-write. Until now, that is. One of my writer friends and I decided to enter a popular writing competition that features writing in rounds, with elimination possible in any of the rounds. The competition accepts writing teams, so my friend, Rhonda, and I decided to give it a shot. To prepare for the contest, which does not start until February 22, we felt we needed some practice co-writing to see if we could do it. The contest divides the writers up into heats and provides each heat with three prompts: Subject, Genre, and Character. We decided to write three stories, each one following the time and length limits set in the contest. We also created a random list of subjects, genres, and characters. We drew one of each for each of the three stories. Our first random prompt list was: Mystery (Genre), Bartender (Character), and Business Meeting (Subject). We had eight days to write a 2500 word story. You can read it by clicking here: Alexis’ Aggravation   or on the tab above. Our second practice story was to be written in three days and be no more than 2,000 words. Our random prompts were: Science Fiction, Casino Teller, and Halloween. That story is published under the All That Shimmers… tab. The third one, which was to be 1500 words and completed in 24 hours, is now finished. Our random prompts were: History, Lead Singer, and Luck. The story is called Finding Booth. You can click on the story title, or find it under the tab above.

Collaborative writing is interesting. We have had some fun doing this. I was not sure I could do it, because usually when I sit down to write, I just write until I am done. Doing these stories in sections and then discussing them as we write them has been good for me. Writing requires a certain amount of discipline and a collaborative project forces that discipline. I look forward to doing this again!

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6 thoughts on “Collaborative Writing

  1. Well, we finished all three stories. We came under deadline on each of them, and met the length requirement. Although these will not be judged in the NYC contest, we had fun writing them, and the challenge was easily met. We both think alike and the stories fairly wrote themselves! Enjoy them. They are the first three pages listed at the top of this post. (After the Home page). Alexis’ Aggravation, All That Shimmers…, and Finding Booth.

  2. I have never collaborated, but have thought about it. I guess the thing that holds me back most is lack of time, but it would be interesting to do someday. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I later talked to an agent I know, after this dual writing effort, and she said to be sure to get a double contract–if this ever happens on a larger scale. Protect yourself! Words to the wise. Still, collaboration is infinitely fun!

  4. We have been doing this through email, too. We did get together and go over Alexis’ Aggravation once it was done because we needed to cut about 300 words out to make the length requirement. You are right, the person who took all the credit for your co-written story was not nice. I guess there are unscrupulous people in every profession!

  5. Good one, Janie. I have collaborated three times. The first time was all done by email. I wrote then passed it to him, he wrote and passed it back, etc. We sold two stories based on that collaboration and split the winnings. Unfortunately, when I read something else by him later, he took all the credit for one of the stories we wrote together. Not nice. I’ll tell you about the other two times later.

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