Thursday, December 13, 2012

Co-Writing a Novel: Challenges and Benefits

If you write MG (middle grade) or YA (young adult) and attended WriteOnCon, you've likely heard of LiLa.

Lisa and Laura Roecker are sisters and co-authors of The Liar Society...

On Goodreads

...and The Lies That Bind...

On Goodreads
Awesome, right? Sisters who write, writing together. 

Well, I happen to have a sister who writes. We often talk about writing, and reading, and stereotypes vs. reality, and good vs. evil, and symbolism in literature and film.... We have great conversations. 

Recently, we decided to start a little co-venture of our own. 

The conversation went something like this:

Me: We should write a book together. I know of these two sisters who wrote a book together and it's been very successful. 
Her: That could be fun. What would it be about?
Me: *laughs* I don't know. I had a weird idea a while back based on a dream I had. [describes dream in all its weird glory]
Her: That could work, but we should change this part so it makes more sense and is easier to write.
Me: *blank stare* That's genius. How come I never thought of that before?

This led to an intense telephone brainstorm that lasted an hour or two. A few days later, we did it again. My phone battery died, so we caught up online to chat, sharing research links like crazy. 

I realized... this is the easiest time I've ever had researching a novel, outlining a story concept, and fleshing out characters. Best of all, I was having a BLAST! 

She wrote the first scene from her character's POV. I wrote a horrible first draft from my character's POV. And we're revising back and forth to make sure our characters sound consistent. The two divergent voices don't matter so much since we're writing from different characters' points of view. 

We're only at the beginning of this adventure, but already the story has taken on dimensions I wouldn't have thought of on my own. And it's fun! It's so, so fun. 

  • Consistency in voice for shared characters
  • Shared vision of setting and sequence of events
  • Communication

  • Unparalleled brainstorms
  • Out-of-your-box experiments
  • Sister bonding (or whatever bonding if you choose to write with a buddy) 

Would you ever co-write?

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