Saturday, March 3, 2012

Writing with a partner

I've always worked by myself, but lately I've been thinking about doing some freelance magazine article work with another writer. This would be a big change for me--for one thing, I would have to give up some control (yikes!!).

That would be tough (even though it would be healthy...), but lately I've been thinking the time has come to give this idea a try. Obviously, a writing partner should be someone who can put up with me...and that rules out a good percentage of humans on the planet. The ideal partner would laugh at my lousy jokes, fix my horrible grammar and spelling habits, do all of the research, and most of all, he or she would tone down my semi-witty, bitingly sarcastic prose (you haven't seen it--I've really tried to behave while posting) when I've got a proverbial bug stuck up my chuff.

You might be thinking that I want someone who will do all of the work while I take the credit and cash the checks, but that isn't true. It isn' mean it; that's not what I'm looking for (would somebody actually do that?).

There is a delicate balance of personalities involved when thinking about working with another writer. Two people would have to think in similar ways, but they also have to bring different strengths to the table, and most of all, both participants have to learn to give a little.

I do research for my novels, and I enjoy most of it, but it isn't the all-important purpose of my life, or even in the top twenty of pleasurable pursuits in J.D. Currie Land. I know some writers who get so involved with research that they only grudgingly stop googling just long enough to pound out a few quick pages on the computer keyboard before re-immersing themselves into the history of adult sanitary diapers, or studying the history of the twisty-tie. See, I told you I could be sarcastic....

I'm very interested to hear how writing teams work together--the "nuts and bolts" of the actual process of joint-authoring a book or article. How does the process work--does each writer work on a chapter or article independently, or do the two writers sit side-by-side from start to finish? I can see problems and advantages with both methods....

I'd love to hear your comments on this topic--have you ever thought about collaborating on a project with another writer?


  1. I've had people offer to partner with me on projects but I've always declined. Control is too important to me! I know, I'm a coward.


  2. You aren't a coward, Jai. I've been leery about it myself--it would take just the right person to convince me to give it a try.
    Writing is such a personal business, but there are writing teams that maintain a successful partnership.

  3. It's definitely possible but I think the chemistry between the partners has to be just right. Otherwise it's probably be a mess.

    There are some writing partnerships that work so well it's magic - think the Beatles.


  4. I just posted this morning about the only writing partner I've been able to work with. Check it out:

  5. Adam- Ha! I have a writing partner just like that! Good listener, but she does not like to share me with the computer...