While I am not yet an expert at it, I have been co-writing a fan fiction that shall be turned into an original story for about 9 months (for more information about this, check the current projects tab). It started out as something fun to do, but slowly became more serious. It is still very fun to do but the decision to transform it into an original story and try to publish it, adds responsibilities to it.
I have this rule to never engage into business with a friend and I broke it. I am writing with a friend and even though I do not care much about the money we may get when we publish, it turns it into a business. That’s why I will not write anything of the original version of our story before we made up a contract. A contract is the basis of good partnership because it gives insurances. Things like deadlines, who writes what, who earns how much, what about expenses and what happens if someone does not want to continue anymore should be covered in such a contract. It will put your mind at ease!
Co-writing has both advantages and disadvantages. The best advantage is that you have more brainpower to come up with interesting plot twists and solutions to problems. The downside is that it can also make it a lot more difficult to agree on things. It is unavoidable that each writer has their own view on the story and the characters. That is why communication is very important. I have been talking almost daily to my co-writer. Our conversations are not always about the story, but it is an important part of our discourse. If you are too stubborn to give up on your ideas, you should not co-write!
A big disadvantage for me is that I am not a very patient person. Since we are still writing round-robin at this moment, I sometimes have nothing to write until my friend finishes a part. And this can be very frustrating! This is the only project I am currently working on and beside school I have not much else to do and this gives me quite some time to write. My friend, however, has a lot more other things to do than I. I perfectly understand that, but, as I said before, I am impatient. This difference in time we have to spend on writing might cause some problems setting up deadlines. They have to be viable but at the same time I do not want to spend years and years working on this.
We divided the portion of work more or less equally. We all have our ‘own’ character to develop, have about the same amount of point of views to write and we split up the world building. This was fairly easy to do in our case, but when you both want to write the same character or both to the same part of the world building progress, it might be harder.
While co-writing is a lot of fun with the right persons, it is a lot harder than writing solo. Everything has to be discussed and you must count on each other. It can ruin friendships. So far is had been a great experience for me, but if you want to try it, pick someone who has the same views as you and expects the same of a story. Be very careful and do not start a project with the first person who is willing to work together without!
When I have more to say about this topic, I shall write another blog. If you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments or ask them on twitter!