Tuesday, April 28, 2009

cooperating in the fringes of society

I have heard of more and more authors taking a page from Hollywood and working together. Often these are called Ghostwriters. A big name gets together with a lesser known writer, the lesser known one does all the work, the big name one signs off on it and gets the big print on the cover and voila, instant bestseller. I have even seen it work with lesser known names as in The Spiderwick Chronicles. Two people, like minded who come together for a common goal. Even some of our contemporaries have done this with some of their current works- Brian Keene and a handful of other writers have gotten together for various projects. Reading his blog he seems to enjoy the collaboration.

I am wondering where this is leading and are there any projects you have going on that a second mind involved throughout the project, instead of at the end to proof it, would be a good thing. Or would it take a good friendship and chuck it out the window over creative differences. My other thing is who does what (You take this chapter and I'll take that chapter. We'll see if they mesh together when we're done.)

I came across this idea while talking to a friend and it was confirmed when I saw a video of Eric Idle talking about collaborations on Monty Python. It is a good video, insightful.


Cate Gardner said...

I believe Bobbie Metevier and Matthew Baugh are collaborating together on a book - one chapter each at a time, I think.

It always looks so cool in the movies when two writers are banging out an idea together - usually screenplays. How it works in practice though - God knows. I would imagine the two styles would have to be similar.

Fox Lee said...

I think it all depends on the personalities involved and the specific project. I'm guessing for every union thats magic, there's two people screaming and throwing beer bottles at each other ; )

Katey said...

Good find, that video, thanks for that. Man, collaboration can really go both ways. It usually starts out fairly blissful, but when the first speedbump comes, it's a real test! Just gotta know your friends, I reckon.

I personally favor those who'd open the half-bottle with me though. (Or a whole one, really.) Might not get as much work done, but it always comes out entertaining. I hope to work on more such in my time. There's something amazing about the proper chemistry when it works, and it gives rise to things I know I never would've managed on my own.

(Yeah, so... I just de-lurked, finally. Word up.)

Jamie Eyberg said...

Cate- I forgot about Bobbie's project. Yeah the whole screenplay collaboration is inspiring.

Nat- The throwing beer bottles at each other is how i picture much more than 1/2 of them turning out. :) I could be wrong.

Aaron Polson said...

I can barely collaborate with myself. I would hate to see the horrible mess I would make with another person.


BT said...

It comes down to trust and personalities involved i think.

On occasion I've had an idea I've put forward to writer friends and invited opinions. I have had brainstorming sessions on occasions. It's almost like a fresh look at the core idea allows me to go off on new and exciting tangents, but I don't know about writing the whole thing together.

That would take some doing - but it's not an experience I'd pass up if the right one came along.

Carrie Harris said...

I'd be a beer bottle thrower, I'm afraid. Probably because my writing style is best described as obsessive-compulsive. ;)

Unknown said...

I agree with Aaron. And even if it did work, I'd have to leave beer and wine out of it, or else we'd get nothing done.

K.C. Shaw said...

I tried (years ago) to collaborate on a story with my mom, mostly to get her writing more. It...did not go well. We were basically trying to write two different stories, and yanking the poor characters in different directions.

I don't think I'd be a good co-author anyway, even if I was clear on which story we were working on. My best ideas seem to pop up when I'm actually physically writing, which makes it hard to have a firm outline in place. I'd have to work with someone who didn't mind scribbling out and erasing the latter half of the outline a whole lot.

Jeremy D Brooks said...

I remember seeing a fantasy novel that Dave Barry (I'm assuming that it was that Dave Barry) last year.

Dean Koontz did a presentation for the Las Vegas writers meetup a month or so ago, and he spoke to that whole co-writing thing. Even though he's at that career point where he's going to make money on pretty much every book, he is working on one currently with an unknown author.

During the Q&A I asked him why; the business model didn't seem to make sense (if Koontz can make everyone money himself, why add another hand to the purse?). He said it really does add financial/marketing synergy to have two authors and would, in fact, make the publisher more money than if Koontz and (insert name here) wrote their own books. I'm still not sure exactly how, but I guess that's the way things are going now.

Jeremy D Brooks said...

Duh...correction: not Dean Koontz, Stephen Coonts (I don't read either one of them, I keep getting them confused).