Monday, May 16, 2011

3 Heads--better than one or even two

Well, everyone, Falls the Shadow is officially live with chapter one being posted yesterday! If you didn't get a chance to read it yet, please hop on over to The Lost Scribes and tell us what you think!

A friend on the Christian Writers forum I'm on asked about the collaboration process that went on for Falls the Shadow. I'm not sure what people will think of our model of "collaboration". The model I'm most familiar with is where one expert provides the story or the research, and an author does the actual writing. Think the Left Behind series. Another fantasy series I enjoy, The Berinfell Chronicles, was co-written by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper, but I don't know how they did it.

I wasn't really sure how to explain our process until I watched a documentary on Pixar. As they evolved into a large company, they had several different teams working on different projects. Those teams will get together every morning, bring their previous day's work, and brainstorm about the story.

That's similar to what Mary, Elynn, and I did, though most of it was over the phone or email. (Justin put up with several months of long Saturday conversations--although I won't say "poor Justin", because he enjoyed tormenting all of us way too much.) I emailed them with a vague, "Hey, what if we got together, created a story world, and detailed a quest from three different character povs, with each of writing a character?"

LoriAnn came back with, "YES! Could we do something in the steampunk genre?"

And I thought, "Hmm. Steampunk. Victorian era producing space-flight? Sounds cool. I need to check this out."

Then Mary came back with, "You guys have been thinking about steampunk too? Let's do it!"

And it was decided. We never really got to the "quest" part, but over the next few months, we were emailing almost every day as we brainstormed together. Probably the hardest thing about it was having an idea, but not being able to run with it until checking with my partners. We all worked really well together as we thought of plot, setting, and--the funnest one--characters. I honestly think the characters will end up being the strongest point in the book, because we forced each other to really dig deep into their attitudes and personalities. Many times, we'd deviate from a plot point to discuss whether Maricossa really would do that, or if Skylar should react that way, or how Libby would handle that kind of comment. Having two others getting to know my own character was really neat, because then they would bring up questions about her personality that would really make me think--and pulled out a few little quirks and surprises that I didn't know were there!

Every discussion we had, I'd come away invigorated and excited, not only about our collaborative novel, but my writing as a whole. Even when we're done with the collaborative novel, I hope to keep brainstorming. It's so nice to have several others thinking too!

So, are we crazy? Yep. Do we have big dreams for this novel? You bet! Would we do it again? I would--and we might. ;P

Have you ever collaborated with anyone to write? How about brainstorming--do you do best on your own, or do you like to talk about writing with others?

Mary's thoughts on the process (and how she and I came up with the system) can be read here.

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Next week's post contains a few random thoughts about editing--hope to see you there!

2 responses:

Galadriel said...

That's really interesting to read about

Katy said...

Hi! On my blog I'm going to be publishing guest posts once a month. I would love to have you enter one of your posts. If you're interested, the form is on my sidebar and I would be happy to answer any questions!

www.inletsandharbors.blogspot.com

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