View Full Version : Question About Writing Partners

03-17-2009, 08:48 PM
Hey all! :hi: I hope this is where this question belongs and if it's not, let the Mods kick me where I need to be! :D

OK. A really good friend of mine and I have decided to write a story together. We each had a science fiction idea that was very similar to the other in a lot of respects (no, neither one of us was inspired by the other's idea) and we decided to combine them for one fantastic (we hope!) novel. Let's call it A Moment In Prime Time for now, since that's a combo of our two seperate titles and right now, our temp.

As of yet, we have not begun to work together on this story (only agreed to do it last night) but I have never had a writing partner before. He has and it was someone who was not willing to commit and he knows he won't have that problem with me! :) But what are some things to remember when co-authoring? I know some things, but I just want to make sure that we do this 'write'! ;)

Oh, and, as of yet, my friend is not a member of this forum. I'm gonna try to get him to join! Don't know if he will, though....

Anyway, any answers to this question are greatly appreciated! :D

03-18-2009, 01:16 PM
I hope someone with experience can answer this question, because I need to know as well! I have written casual fan-fiction with a friend or two before, so I can say that you need to make sure the use of language and vocabulary blends perfectly. You wouldn't want a reader to pick up the book and be able to tell where one person stopped writing and the other one began. Continuity of storyline and plot are important, but I'm sure all of these things are obvious to you. What I don't know about is this:

What if your co-author doesn't do any of the writing but contributes some of the basic ideas and characters, and then flakes out on you? If you go on and finish the story, doing all the work, writing all the drafts and developing all the characters, does that other person still own half of your work? Are you required to put their name on the copyright when you make it that far? What if you never see them again, but you want to continue the story and publish? Since you've already done all this work on it and basically made the entire story, what are you legally obliged to do before you can publish?

I'm sorry that I can't give a more helpful answer. Maybe the copyright suggestion will help generate some ideas?

03-18-2009, 05:03 PM
I've seen writing partnerships flourish and I've seen them explode so violently both parties are wounded and their friendship killed.

Before you begin, you should agree on a goal. Yes, write the book together, but then what? Is the intention a sale to a publisher, or your own enjoyments of the process? How you write it might differ depending on the answer. What you're really into may not be as marketable as other ideas you have.

Be prepared for one of you to do way more work toward the goal. If you're not both good with that, don't begin. Seriously. One of you will lose enthusiasm, or have other things which eat into available time, guaranteed.

Have an agreement (maybe in writing) about who owns the writing done so far, including outlines, synopsis, or other plan for the whole, if one of you abandons the effort. Can the lone survivor proceed on his or her own? If so, and if there's a sale, what happens to any money received?

How do you plan to work? Will you brainstorm ideas together, then one writes? Will you write together, settling on each sentence? (Lay in plenty of supplies.) Write alternating chapters? It's probably worth a dry run before you commit: Write a short story together, no longer than 4,000 words, with the goal of publication. See how it goes.

Maryn, who could never write with a partner

03-19-2009, 06:12 AM
Yes, we have a goal of publication. I think I will be the one who ends up doing the most writing. I don't know about first draft...that might be mainly both of us, but I love editing and he hates it. Guess who's going to do it? Yep, that's right, me! :D And I don't mind that. As I said, I :heart: editing! (I'm finding I'm one of the few.)

I don't think he will flake out on me, especially since he's already had someone flake on him. We are really close and I think our writing styles can blend. Our ideas can certainly be the same (execpt he works mainly in young adult. I do as well, but my first love is middle grade) and if we see this through, I expect that we will share the profits 50-50. I do have more time for writing than he does.

We have not met to discuss this. We have only just agreed to do it, but we haven't talked about our ideas in full with each other yet. I know that writing with someone can be difficult, but I'm up for the challenge! :D

03-19-2009, 06:13 AM
Oh, I'm also the 'brain' in the partnership because I've done research and know how to write a query letter, blah, blah, blah. So that question is answered in case anyone was wondering! :D