Being a Co-Writer (part 4)

Q&A time!

Over on Instagram I put it to you guys to ask the questions about my co-writing experience!

Q: What do you do if you don't like the other person's idea/approach to a scene/character?

A: Good question! For the most part, we tend to be pretty good when it comes to ideas. If there isn't something we like, we usually tell each other. Say, if one of us has a particular vision in mind and the other doesn't quite meet that, we'll tell each other. This tends to happen once the first draft is finished. For example, the character Caspian (from Project WxK): we had two very different interpretations of how he should sound, act, etc. and that ended up being a discussion we had to have. Same with scenes. Now that we outline our scenes, this doesn't happen as often.

Make sure you voice your thoughts to your cowriter. If you don't like something, or aren't sure about a character or scene, chances are, your co-writer might think the same as you.

Q: How do you choose who writes what?

A: It's pretty simple! We each have a character, and we write from that characters perspective only. If there are say scenes that include both of them, then it usually depends on how our outline looks, and whether that scene would be better from my character or hers. Having two characters really helps share the writing and also the storyline, which we try to outline in a way that allows for two perspectives.

Q: How do you ensure that the voice and style remains constant?

A: Because we write with two alternating characters, it tends to be easy keeping the two voices of the characters constant. We also have now implemented a new system of editing that'll allow us to assess the others chapters to make sure the other characters also remain constant.

Q: How do you outline your story since there are two ideas instead of one, which will cause arguments?

A: We don't argue, not really. We discuss, but when it comes down to ideas, we tend to usually base our ideas heavily off of either: the two main characters we create, or we come up with ideas that centre around two specific characters and a joined storyline. For the most part, we outline using Save the Cat! Writes a Novel, and have two seperate beat sheets (one for each main character) and we will outline around those beat sheets when planning chapters. This doesn't cause arguments at all!

Q: When you build worlds, how will your co-writer understand the same vision you had for your ideas?

A: When building worlds, we tend to utilise Pinterest. We'll create a board, then add categories within so we can save images that best represent the world we're trying to build. We also sit down and make up 'world building cheat sheets', where we take significant places in the book (specific cities, towns, areas, etc.) and we'll actually describe them before writing, so there is a place where we can look to while writing to get specific descriptions.

Q: How do you speed things up instead of wavering over which ideas to choose?

A: We usually have a concept, or a trope, or something we want to try and write. Sometimes, we can just pitch the other an idea and then run with it, outlining and planning before writing. This can take a couple of days to a couple of weeks, depending on the depth we go into. Sometime, one of us (usually me) can write the first chapter to a new story, pitch it to the other, and give them the opportunity to start the next with an entirely new character and different storyline that'll eventually come together. If it doesn't work, we can usually both tell.

Q: How do you send your manuscripts back and forth?

A: I assume you're asking how we send our chapters or scenes back and forth. Here, we use Google Docs, and we have two main documents that we use to keep track of the chapters written. We read through each others chapters as we finish them and will mark them up as we read to keep track of any changes that might need to be made in the future.

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