Monday, May 30, 2011

Tag Team Writing

Posted by: Rayna Vause

Many writers have critique partners. We often try out many potential partners before finding the right fit. Sooner or later we find that person or people with complementary skill sets, who encourage us, but also let us know when we’ve gone in the wrong direction with a story. Still, at the end of the day the story we write is our own original creation.

My coming release from Carina Press, Amazon Heat, is actually a product of a partnership between Melinda Leigh and I. It started as a whim, a random brainstorming during the ride to our writing group’s monthly meeting. We had so much fun plotting out the story that we decided to put the idea to paper.  Still, neither of us had ever written with a partner. We had no idea if we could successfully blend our styles and voices so that the final product would be a seamless conglomerate of the two. I’d always wondered how writing teams did it? Do the partners trade off scenes? Does one partner write from the hero’s point of the view the other the heroines? Every team has their own unique writing process. When people learn that I write as part of a team, I'm often asked how we do it. So,  I thought I’d share a little bit of collaborative process. 

We start by creating a detailed outline jotting down all of the scenes that we think will be needed. Once we have that we dive in, writing tag team so to speak, alternating scenes as we go. We’re both fairly laid back people. Neither one of us is married to the words on the page, which is a good thing. You’re never going to get anywhere if you’re so in love with every word you write that you won’t let anyone change it. If the story starts to diverge from the path that we’ve set up, we’ll discuss it. In the end we usually come up with something even stronger.

Once we make a bit of progress, we’ll go back and make some editorial passes even as we continue to progress forward. Stylistically, Melinda and I are very different writers. However, those differences complement each other. It's very cool to reread a scene I’ve written after she’s taken a pass at it. I’m a layer writer. My first drafts are very skeletal, so I enjoy seeing what meat she’s added. Conversely, when I go through I’ll focus on punching up the paranormal or romantic elements of the story.  We’ll tweak until we both agree that it’s finished. Then out the door it goes. 

It’s been a great experience having another writer as immersed in a story as I am. We’ve learned from each other and had a lot of fun in the process.

That's just a brief glimpse into our writing world. Now tell, me have you ever tried writing with a partner? If so what was your process? If not have you ever considered it?


I hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day!

~Rayna Vause
www.RaynaVause.com

8 comments:

  1. This is a timely post for me to read, because yesterday my friend Emma Shortt and I decided to write something together. It will be the first time either of us has worked with a co-author, so thank you for this insight into your way of doing things.

    We're going to write alternating chapters or scenes of female and male pov independently, and see where we go from there.

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  2. Hi David,

    I'm so glad you found my post helpful.

    From the sounds of things you'll definitely need a very detailed outline and lots of communication. I wish you and Emma the very best of luck with your story!

    ~Rayna

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  3. Very interesting, Rayna! Thanks for sharing. COngrats on your release!

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  4. Rayna,

    I've always wondered about the writing process for a team. Very enlightening. Thanks for sharing.

    Isis

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  5. Martha & Isis,

    Thanks for stopping in!

    ~Rayna

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  6. That is such a cool process and it sounds like it works perfectly for you. I think this would be a blast but I'm way too controlling of my vision for it to actually work for me. I wish it could! Maybe one day. :)

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  7. Thanks Mallory,

    We do have a lot of fun working together. However, you do need to be open to melding your vision with another person's to be a successful team. Still, if you have someone who is a good friend and writer you may try starting with something small(short story, novella, etc.) and seeing how you mesh.

    Thanks for stopping in!

    ~Rayna

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  8. That's a great idea! Thank you!

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