Today I wanted to post about an item that has been on my writerly bucket list: writing with a co-author. It seemed like something that would be a lot of fun, while also a new challenge. I consider myself SUPER fortunate to have found the very talented and creative Shawn T. Anderson to join me on this exciting feat! For the past few months, we’ve been working like crazy to prepare episodes for our new Civil War steampunk serial, SPLINTER.
As we begin releasing our story, I thought it would be fun to give you a peek into the co-authoring writer process. This isn’t something that a lot of people do, but it isn’t uncommon either. When you think of all of the time and inspiration it takes for one individual to create an original work of art, it might seem like adding another person into the mix would be stifling. It’s hard enough to capture the essence of a project with one person, what happens when you add a second opinion? It’s definitely important to find someone that has a complementary writing style, someone you can work well with (meaning you have to be able to be able to take sometimes conflicting ideas and work them into one agreeable thought), and someone who is as accessible as you are.
So here’s how it happened for Shawn and me. Initially, I put out feelers, garnering interest for those who might want to do a project this way and, at the same time, researching methods for co-writing. I found a couple people who thought it was a fun idea, but didn’t have the immediate time or whose ideas weren’t aligned with what I had in mind, or my style. When I asked Shawn if it was something he’d be interested in, he was super excited, and we immediately started brainstorming potential plot ideas. During this process, we discovered that we had quite a few ideas that would work. Our “creative juices” were fairly similar so to speak. Ultimately we narrowed our list down to one project that would be our test run.
Now like I mentioned, I’d researched methods for co-writing, but what I found out is it’s different for every team (just like individual writing processes). Shawn and I use Google Drive for our story, outline, character and plot ideas, and even to track our endless Twitter DMs. We use LOTS of comments, messages, emails etc over the course of creating each episode. It can get REALLY messy and sometimes confusing, but by the time we’ve discussed and tweaked, we circle back and finalize before each episode goes live.
It’s really a super fun process, probably not that far off from working with an editor to ready a work for publication. Shawn and I both totally love our story and can hardly wait to post each new episode! We’ve had great support and interest so far and hope this is just the first of many co-projects to come.
And for those who missed it, here’s the cover for SPLINTER. We’d love it if you’d follow our adventure! Episode 2 releases this Friday (Sept 19th)!