Christopher Moore Home Page

The bulletin board is currently closed to new posts. Instead, why not check out Chris' Twitter and Facebook pages?


bbs.chrismoore.com Forum Index -> So You Wanna Be a Writer?

Collaborative writing

  Author    Thread This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics. This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.
Regina



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 952
Location: Northeast U.S
Collaborative writing  Reply with quote  

Has anyone here ever made a stab at collaborative writing? All of my work has been done (at least in the egg stage) totally solo.

Right now - through a series of prompts along with one other writer - we've accidentally created enough raw but consistant character/plot material to shape it into a novel.
So we are charging forward with it.

My question is, does anyone have advice on technique or how to approach the collaborative process with a large work?

Other than chain stories and prompts I'm new to this sort of challenge. So far we are having a blast with it - which I hope will translate well into the end result. '

Post Mon Mar 28, 2005 10:31 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Unc



Joined: 18 Aug 2004
Posts: 300
Location: South of FRANCE
 Reply with quote  

No experience with the actual process, only with the occasionally satisfying result. Stephen King worked well with Peter Straub on "The Talisman." And Roger Zelazny (partly out of necessity because he was dying) worked well with some collaborators towards the end. There have been a number of good collaborations in the world of SF.

It must be a bitch, but possible if the two collaborators have gotten past the ego thang. The phenomenon that amazes me is in film, all the brother teams -- the Coen brothers, the Wacky brothers, the Hughes brothers, the Hillanbrand brothers, the Farrellys. Go figure.

Post Tue Mar 29, 2005 2:16 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
 Reply with quote  

I've written a couple of screenplays with a friend. We usually brainstorm the outline together, then divide up the scenes and write them individually. I think it's worked pretty well, but then, a screenplay doesn't really have an authorial voice. If one of the collaborators has a strong style you're going to have to accomodate that in the process. It's not that different parts can't "sound" differently, but it shouldn't jolt the reader. We generally did the brainstorming on the phone or in person, then wrote the scenes, then one of us put them together, we did notes, then met in person and discussed, then went to rewrite individually again. This was done over long distances and worked pretty well, but if you're in that situation I'd suggest getting some way to talk over the internet for free. There are a number of programs out there that work really well and all you need is a four dollar head-set. We weren't able to do that because my friend uses a Mac and was therefore isolated from 90% of the world.

In the end, the process depends on the participants. And ultimately, the quality of the material has to be the final arbiter.

I've also written songs with another friend, and these are almost never in my "voice", but in hers. And generally written from either a gender neutral or female POV. It works, but I sort of have to check my ego at the door, because I'm not writing my stuff, I'm helping to write stuff that she will perform and record. It's a completely different process because it tends to be much more spontaneous, and if things go right you can finish a song pretty quickly. We've written them in less than an hour, although rarely. We've almost always worked in the same room, with her polishing the music later, on her own. The process has worked best when she comes to me with an idea, maybe a few lines and chords, then I help finish it (and vice-versa). It's really hard to actually generate a concept or an idea for a song together, or at least that's my experience.

I've only written one article in collaboration, and that was extraordinarly fun, but I was working with a talented friend and we had great event to write about, so I'm not sure it was representative of the process. I'd sit and write for a while, then he'd sit and write for a while, and the whole time one or the other of us was commenting on what the other was doing. Non-fiction is nice, since the story is sort of already done for you, you just have to figure out the best way to tell it. It's more mechanical.

Post Tue Mar 29, 2005 4:46 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
y



Joined: 22 Mar 2005
Posts: 3858
 Reply with quote  

Unfortunately for me my experiences thus far have been bad ones. I definitely agree that you guys should make some sort of outline and general mood/theme of the piece. I also think it's extremly important that you definitely know the writing style/personailty of the person(s) you're working with and that egos are checked at the door. Just keep in mind this is a joint effort that will hopefully bloom into success and recognition for you both.

Best of luck!!

Post Tue Mar 29, 2005 7:00 am   View user's profile Send private message
Unc



Joined: 18 Aug 2004
Posts: 300
Location: South of FRANCE
 Reply with quote  

chris wrote:
I've also written songs with another friend, and these are almost never in my "voice", but in hers. And generally written from either a gender neutral or female POV. It works, but I sort of have to check my ego at the door, because I'm not writing my stuff, I'm helping to write stuff that she will perform and record. It's a completely different process because it tends to be much more spontaneous, and if things go right you can finish a song pretty quickly. We've written them in less than an hour, although rarely. We've almost always worked in the same room, with her polishing the music later, on her own. The process has worked best when she comes to me with an idea, maybe a few lines and chords, then I help finish it (and vice-versa). It's really hard to actually generate a concept or an idea for a song together, or at least that's my experience.


Sometimes it's a synergy thang. One of my favorite stories has to do with The Eagles. They broke up primarily because the two principals -- Don Henley and Glenn Frey -- couldn't stand to be in the same room with each other. So, after something like 15 years the group decides to get back together for the Hell Freezes Over tour. Don and Glenn haven't seen each other in all that time. So they agree to meet at one of their houses. And that afternoon, not having seen each other or talked in all that time, they sit down and write three new songs, including the hilarious "Get Over It." I hear that Lennon-McCartney and Jagger-Richards had similar relationships. They didn't actually have to like each other that much...the creative synergy was all that mattered. Go figure.

Post Tue Mar 29, 2005 1:58 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
HRH Gracie



Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Posts: 39
Location: Virginia
 Reply with quote  

my walking partner and I wrote a book, we did the outline together and then split up the chapters. Of course, no reputable publishing house would touch it with a ten foot pole, but we found it wildly entertaining. And that was the point, after all. That and getting the 15 k dollars I wanted that my cheap azz bastrd husband wouldn't give me to join the country club, such as it was. I do miss that man.

Post Tue Mar 29, 2005 4:01 pm   View user's profile Send private message
sgt_steve



Joined: 18 Jan 2005
Posts: 5197
Location: Michissippi
 Reply with quote  

I don't write fiction, but have written more songs with other people than I have solo. My buddy Smac is the best of them, and our process is very consistant.

One of us gets an idea, usually along with a tag line or a verse and chorus. He emails it to the other. It goes back and forth a few times, accreting ideas and loosely connected lines. Usually nothing much solid happens until we get together face to face.

Face to face (and guitar to guitar) we take the loosely connected pieces and start re-arranging them like a jigsaw puzzle. While this is going on each of us is continually critiqing the others arrangement. We're polite, but ruthless. And we sound like something out of an English class, constantly backing up our opinions with 'why' this and 'because' that. It's truely the most conciously structured writing I ever do, and working with him has made me a better songwriter.

The lone exception was a song we finished in about four emails back and forth. He sent me a near-complete song including a punch line and a situation and a melody. I said his situation was crap and changed it - and rewrote everything except the punch line and melody. He punched it it up and smoothed it out, we tweaked it a bit, and it was done. Worked great, but we've never quite managed it that way again. Which is too bad, because he's relocating to Atlanta next week.

For some time Smacs been collaborating on songs and arrangements with his girlfriend in Germany. They send mp3s back and forth, augmented by email and visits to chat rooms. IMHO quite an odd way to make music, but it sure works for them.

Post Tue Mar 29, 2005 4:51 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Regina



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 952
Location: Northeast U.S
 Reply with quote  

The person I am writing with is someone I've been in a critique group with for a few years. It meets in person once a week, and one of our members has a private forum set up on his website with prompts and forums for different genres and discussions about writing. So whats good is we are really familiar with each others' writing.

The way the project began was though the writing prompts- we basically challenged each other to match each other in prompt quantity and at some point we started to have overlapping characters and story arcs emerge from the soup... At first we weren't going to do anything with it until we realized that between us we had generated a total of 200 pages in about two weeks.

So far what we've decided is to complete a certain number of prompts and then begin setting up structure, although in reading each other's prompts there are some things we do discuss about what we want to see happen - at this point we have to just to keep track of things and to make sure that some stuff stays consistent, even though as of now, its non-linear.

Its an awesome thing to be able to do it online while I'm at work... The internet used to really distract me from getting things done but in this case its been a really helpful productive tool.

What we have done so far in terms of structuring our "accidental novel" is write out a list of characters, with descriptions and their relationships to each other, and divided them into categories of three tiers. There are the Primary characters, Secondary characters, and a third category we've dubbed the "Bobs" - characters that show up in exposition or that just have "cameo appearances" as the activities of the primary and secondary calls for interaction outside of their usual circles.

So, with that being where we are in the process, got any suggestions or hints with what to do from there?

Post Tue Mar 29, 2005 7:47 pm   View user's profile Send private message
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
 Reply with quote  

I'd have the characters do something. Then I'd write that down.



But that's just me.

Post Wed Mar 30, 2005 12:23 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Regina



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 952
Location: Northeast U.S
 Reply with quote  

lol

In that case maybe we are too far along for me to be asking...

Post Wed Mar 30, 2005 12:27 am   View user's profile Send private message
Regina



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 952
Location: Northeast U.S
 Reply with quote  

What I meant by the previous post is that at the moment, its practically all plot with a few details and some names thrown in- i think because of the word list prompt method - hence the focus on the character list...

So onto something different...

Does anyone else find it easier to be productive when you have someone else to bounce off of? Or does it hinder things?

Post Wed Mar 30, 2005 6:46 am   View user's profile Send private message
Kilgore



Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Posts: 305
Location: Inside Ferrit's Head
 Reply with quote  

I like it when Ferrit reads to people what he has written just to see how things are flowing. He does not like to have other people read what he has written until he is editing. A lot of times when he tells someone about what he is writing he switches to something else. It is a paranoid thing. I know this but Ferrit is unaware of it. He thinks he is being tricky but the truth is he is nuts.
_________________
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.

-KV

Post Wed Mar 30, 2005 7:19 pm   View user's profile Send private message
y



Joined: 22 Mar 2005
Posts: 3858
 Reply with quote  

For me it depends on where I am with the piece. If I'm just starting out, then no. I find it too distracting and then I find that I'm forcing words out. When I've already got a good sense of where I want to go with a piece, then yes, very helpful to bounce ideas off of other!

Post Thu Mar 31, 2005 7:04 am   View user's profile Send private message
Regina



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 952
Location: Northeast U.S
 Reply with quote  

That makes a lot of sense. I find it's about fifty fifty and is somewhat dependent on the genre. Poetry is not something I tend to discuss a lot before its done. Plays are great- with them I usually have the whole plot worked out first and then work within the framework, so sometimes its helpful to talk about it with people to generate ideas in terms of how to get from point a to point b and keep it entertaining. Novels and short stories are a little more vague for me- I usually don't have the whole thing worked out in my head before I start so I find its a good idea to wait until you have a solid idea of what you want to accomplish with it before you start talking about the material because before that point, its easy to get derailed. I like to be open to whatever pops up organically but sometimes too much critique/discussion too soon can sned you on a creative tailspin.

Post Fri Apr 01, 2005 3:44 am   View user's profile Send private message
  Display posts from previous:      
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics. This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.

Jump to:  


Last Thread | Next Thread  >

Forum Rules:
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

 
Templates created by Vereor and Ken