Fun, mental exercise, compromise, teachability...did I mention fun?
I've had the pleasure of collaborating with several different people over the past year. The longest collaboration, and one I've talked about before, is of course Falls the Shadow with Mary and LoriAnn (Elynn W. Marshe). The other, not-so-talked-about one is a short story, Malfunction, written in fellow author Andrea Graham's Web Surfer universe.
One of the things I love the most about collaborating with someone is the brainstorming stage. Everyone chiming in, sometimes talking all at once, as the ideas begin snowballing, each person adding to the idea with, "Ooh--what if?..." "How about..." "Wouldn't it make more sense for that character to do this?..." With Andrea, it was on Facebook (love the wonders of technology!) so I was typing as fast as I could to get out my ideas. With May and LoriAnn, it's always a conference call...so you can imagine the crazy sounds our phone speakers put out when we all start talking at once.
My other favorite thing about collaborating with someone is what I get to learn from that person. Mary, LoriAnn, and I are all close to the same level of writing, but I'm constantly learning from them, either by one of them critiquing what I've written, passing on a piece of advice, or seeing how they use a certain word or phrase. With Andrea, I've benefited from some excellent editing that has pinpointed what I need to work on in my writing.
For some reason, I seem to be more challenged when I'm working with someone. Maybe it's because I want to look good in their eyes--maybe because I treat it a little like a competition--maybe because I really want to work hard and write something admirable. Maybe all three. Whatever the case, I love how collaboration inspires me. I love working with people. I love cohesive acts of creativity.