Many People, One Plot

Many People, One Plot

A Lesson by Brytt

Co-writing is tricky: with more than one person writing, you may have conflicting ideas. Here are some tips to prevent MAJOR explosions over plot and group dynamics.




I have been working with a co-writer for about seven or eight months, and I know that it can be difficult.  I want to help anyone who might be thinking about writing a book with multiple authors.  Here are some great ideas to prevent hostilities on the literary front.


Getting to Know Your Partner(s)

  ~  Spend time with your co-writer(s).  You should find out what you both enjoy so that you can understand the differneces in content and style in your writing.

  ~  Talk about how you will tell your story.  You may trade off each chapter or do a section of any number of chapters at a time.  Perhaps you may even do a given number of pages (divided into sections), trading back and forth.

  ~  Write something you both enjoy.  If you're a hardcore werewolf fanatic, but, say, one of your friends prefers vampires and a third loves witches, put them all together, you writing from the wolf's perspective, #2 from a vampire's, and #3 from a warlock's, or the like.  It gives the story versitility and depth.

  ~  Prepare your plot.  Always always always have an idea for the plot reaching at least thre or four chapters ahead of your writing.  Even better, plot out the big details of the WHOLE thing before you even start writing.  Also, take notes on little details that you'll want to include: some subtle hints at a main villian, a timeline of events, the physical appearances of characters.  If you contradict, even between writers, the story will not flow, and your readers will leave.


Plot, Setting, and Saving the Universe

  ~  Whatever you choose for plot and setting, communicate!  Talk, chit-chat, chatter, gab, do anything, but keep in touch.  You need to keep up with how far your cowriter(s) is/are, when you need your next selection completed, and what, if any, major twists he/she/they may have thrown into the mix.

  ~  Keep it loose.  Watch what your partner(s) do, but stay true to yourself, too.  One of the things I absolutely love about writing with Tory is that her style is so drastically different from mine that even without notes, a reader can tell her writing from mine.  This is especially helpful with more than one main character!

  ~  Setting is important: make sure you all agree on a time, location, and genre for the story before you begin.  Exception:  Time/Space Continuum Rifts- Ah, the beauty of being able to drift from one time and/or place to a completely different one... Use sparingly, please.  This can get confusing.




That would be hope.  Or maybe the rain is just clearing up; I can't tell anymore.

Your book can make it.  But you must be prepared to sacrifice.  Sometimes, the first draft won't do.  You'll miss something, overlook a flaw, reference something incorrectly.  Just like a single author story, you'll need more than one draft.  Look at the bright side, though:  if they want you to rewrite, it means one of two things: you didn't understand/interrpret the story the same way (which is actually a pretty lame reason), or you can do way better.

And they totally know it.


Class Dismissed

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Posted 7 Years Ago

"Prepare your plot." Good advice there. Even writers who have a lot of experience working together can get lost if they don't each have at least some idea of where they want the story to go.

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Added on May 11, 2011
Last Updated on May 12, 2011
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Britt, IA

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