Writing Tips Round Up: Collaborative writing4 min read
A weekly round up of writing tips and inspiration
“You’ll know from the first time you try to write with someone whether they’re doing their fair share. I’ve written a few times with certain people, and they’re writing one page a day when they should be writing five. With Andrew, we can both churn out the same amount of pages in a day. When we say we’re going to write, we write. When we say we’re going to edit each other’s work, we do it.”
Writing teams are commonplace for screenwriters. In this article, Movie Maker get some insights from a handful of screenwriter duos on what makes a successful partnership.
“We wrote the first draft in about nine weeks. Nine weeks of gloriously long phone calls, in which we would read each other what we’d written, and try to make the other one laugh. We’d plot, delightedly, and then hurry off the phone, determined to get to the next good bit before the other one could. We’d rewrite each other, footnote each other’s pages, sometimes even footnote each other’s footnotes.”
One of the most epic pair-ups of all time was surely Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. In this BBC magazine piece, Neil lays out the dynamics of their writing partnership during the birth of Good Omens.
“On most games, level design is the department that works closest with writers. Level designers and writers are always collaborating to create the minute-by-minute experience for players – it’s a constant back-and-forth process. Writers provide story and lore that the level designers use to create their levels, but it’s also common for level designers to request writing to support the gameplay.”
Writing for video games requires all sorts of collaboration, with level designers, artists and animators. In this Forbes interview with writer George Ziets, we get into the nitty-gritty of video game writing collaboration and the challenges that frequently arise in the process.
“Agreement on characters matters a lot in a collaborative project like this. In fact, and in my opinion, it’s much more important to agree on who your characters are than to agree about what the plot is. You can fill plot holes with spackle and elbow grease, but a disagreement on character can be impossible to remedy, and will cascade throughout series planning.”
Max Gladstone offers up some tips to Writer’s Digest on how not to kill each other when writing with a partner, covering compromise, common ground and, most importantly, trust.
“That’s an organic process. We tend to work up a detailed outline together, passing it back and forth via the cloud until we’re happy with it. Then we assign sequences, or related sets of chapters, to each author. The other authors later revises these chapters. That way, we tend to get four hands on just about every word.”
This guide from Book Fox works as a great introduction to the collaborative writing scene, with FAQs, examples and exercises to help you get started.
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