We all know that writing can be a pretty solitary act, but sometimes it’s fun to switch things up a bit and write in collaboration. Seriously, it can be fun; and it worked for Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs.
I tried writing collaboratively only once before, with an ex-girlfriend who is a formidable writer in her own regard (click here to see a sample of her work). It didn’t work out so well. We were working on a piece of alternative literature, with her writing from the female perspective and me writing from the male perspective. It fizzled out after a mere two chapters each.
If you want to collaborate with another writer, here are five suggestions to make the process go smoothly:
1. Plan an outline. Make sure that you and your writing partner both know where the story is going.
2. Be professional. Whether the person you’re writing with is a spouse, lover, or best friend, as far as your work together goes, make sure that you both hold yourselves to a professional standard.
3. Personal chemistry. If you don’t like a fellow writer (and writers hate being around other writers as a general rule) don’t work with them.
4. Literary chemistry. If you write like Kerouac and your partner writes like Woolf, make sure that you two can come to an interesting juxtaposition or don’t start at all.
5. Don’t be too critical. It takes time to turn first drafts into quality writing. Don’t be too critical of your partner. Don’t bite their head off if they miss a deadline. People produce their best work when they don’t get the whip cracked on them.
I hope these suggestions prove to be helpful to you in your writing career!