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Teaming up???

Someone in one of my reading groups mentioned their favorite author is writing a series cooperatively with another author. She was nervous about whose voice the story would sound like. I marveled at this, because my mind never goes there when I think of multi authors. It boils down to a difference in thinking. A reader is more concerned about the result. Rightly so. As an author, I always wonder about the process.

My process is so internal. If I get stuck, I will go to my mother for help. As a side note, I actually see the value in having another writer help with these dilemmas. I once had a writer friend I would swap pieces with for a different take. A reader will say, this doesn’t work or this passage needs to be re-worded. An author will say, the plot structure falls apart here or if you move this paragraph down it will create more suspense. Besides this occasional questioning, the writing process is trapped inside of me.

I don’t outline. I don’t do a plot structure. I basically have an idea, sit at my keyboard, and start pounding. The story drives itself. Do I think of where I want to go next? Absolutely. I even plan a few things out. But most of what I uncover is by chance. I will stumble onto a scene and think, “you know, this would be a great connection with what was established in chapter two.” I guess with the lack of plan, I wonder where a second writer would fit in. Do they have to outline and do plot structures? Do they have to do character analysis charts? I imagine if they are not on the same page with their characters, it is bound to show in behaviors and situations. How much time is spent planning and brainstorming and how much time is spent writing? Do they go over each other’s work before continuing?

Which brings me to another question. Who writes what? Do they agree that they alternate chapters or do they sit in the same room and compose jointly? When I was growing up, I romanticized writing with someone. I, of course, thought about having a spouse as a writer. I think I had heard of a famous pair. Anyway, I thought if I could just find someone who had mastered the art of prose then I could mix that with my dialogue skills and…bam!…we’d be a multimillion dollar combination. I have since given up this dream for all the questions above. I mean, what writer would let me tell them to sit back while I write the skeleton of the story so they can fill in the gaps later? As a person, I’m a control freak. I want to control my story, my characters, my direction. I don’t think it is in me to compromise and let someone else take the reins. I actually hate class exercises that do this. But, who knows what the future brings?